The author Sue Townsend has revealed that the once-teenage diarist Adrian Mole is to be the subject of a 10th book – and this time he's suffering austerity anxst.
Having had his first incarnation aged 13¾, when spots, poetry and his parents' behaviour were among his chief concerns, he is now 45 and addressing the challenges of declining incomes and village life.
Ms Townsend told the Hay Festival that she has embarked on the book but that she has yet to decide its title – "the first time that's ever happened to me".
She revealed: "It will be about the new austerity – about how people are managing to live with a huge loss of normal income. It does make you wonder how people are going to live now, when it costs such a huge amount to keep living."
Adrian will still be based in the fictional Mangold Parva, which, with its pub, shops and Post Office gone, reflects reality for many villages in the UK today, and, said the author, he is "going to be a big wheel in the village".
She said the book will open with Adrian celebrating a birthday: "He was 45 on 2 April this year. It starts on Adrian's 45th birthday so there will be some reflection, but only a bit – too much reflection is boring."
One element she said will definitely be in the book is the phrase: "You're dead to me." She says it is a phrase she keeps on hearing: "And not just on The Jeremy Kyle Show. People say it for trivial reasons yet they're carrying on as if they're in the Mafia."
It will be the 10th book in the series, which began in 1982 with The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾. The last, Adrian Mole: The Prostrate Years, was published in 2009.
Townsend is registered blind and in a wheelchair as a result of diabetes. In 2009, she had a kidney transplant using an organ donated by her eldest son.