Centre for New Writing

Commissions to celebrate Adrian Moles' 50th birthday

The three commissioned pieces were performed at Adrian Mole's birthday party, hosted by Literary Leicester on 2 April 2017 in partnership with Penguin. Printed versions were distributed on the day in the form of an illustrated birthday souvenir booklet.

Two commissions were open to all writers. One commission was aimed at young writers aged 16-25. The commission could take inspiration from any aspect of Mole’s diaries or any other theme from the writing of Sue Townsend. Commissioned writers received a guided tour of the Sue Townsend Archive in the University’s David Wilson Library.

Winners of the commissions

Let them eat custard creams, Heide Goody and Iain Grant

Heide Goody and Iain Grant take inspiration from Adrian's lifelong habit of writing letters to make his feelings known. The monologue takes the form of a letter, objecting to a rejected Arts Council application for Westcotes Library's reading group. The request was simple: better snacks for attendees. Brexit and the fall of the pound has meant they’ve had to replace delicious pastries with lowly custard creams and digestives. This has attracted all of the local freeloading retirees. A return to a better class of snacks would surely bring a more refined and scholarly air back to the group?

Rocking On, Marilyn Ricci

In Marilyn Ricci's monologue Adrian has finally been published – as a ghost writer to a young pop star (Niamh) and he's under pressure to accept another commission from ageing rock star, Robbie (Rabid Dog) Robson. Adrian feels he may have ‘sold out’. He is, though, Chair of Mangold Parva Parish Council, doing his bit to protest about austerity cuts - but it isn’t easy, since the Council is plagued by a stalker. To cap it all, Pandora has insisted on organising his 50th birthday bash according to the view of the ‘people’ (the family), so it’s to be held in Skegness.

The Age of Convenience, Maria Taylor

Adrian Mole’s turning 50 and works at Tesco Express, but is still an intellectual at heart and author of a scathing social satire: 'Trump at the DHSS'. His mother, Pauline, has taken up protesting as a hobby and has chained herself to a bollard outside the soon-to-be-closed Fenwick's in Leicester, because 'someone has to protect our heritage'. Adrian is an accidental hero of Brexit. His tweet "It's time for change. It's time to be fearless!" (which actually referred to his first trip to Aldi) was seen as pro-Brexit by UKIP, gaining several thousand retweets.

Read the three commissions (PDF, 663kb)

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