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Richard Adams (1) (1920–2016)

Author of Watership Down

For other authors named Richard Adams, see the disambiguation page.

81+ Works 35,825 Members 633 Reviews 66 Favorited
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About the Author

Richard George Adams was born in Newbury, England on May 9, 1920. He enrolled at the University of Oxford in 1938, but his studies were interrupted by World War II. During the war, he served with the British airborne forces in the Middle East and India. After the war, he returned to Oxford and show more received a degree in history in 1948. He joined the Ministry of Housing and Local Government and worked his way up over 20 years to a senior post in the clean-air section of the environmental department. He retired in 1974 to become a full-time writer. His first his novel, Watership Down, was published in 1972. It received the Carnegie Medal in Literature in 1972 and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in 1973. His other books include Shardik, The Plague Dogs, Traveller, and Tales from Watership Down. He also wrote an autobiography entitled The Day Gone By. He died on December 24, 2016 at the age of 96. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Richard Adams

Watership Down (1972) 25,072 copies
Tales from Watership Down (1996) — Author — 2,570 copies
The Plague Dogs (1977) 2,202 copies
Shardik (1974) 2,136 copies
Maia (1984) 942 copies
The Girl in a Swing (1980) 840 copies
Traveller (1988) 455 copies
The Tyger Voyage (1976) 169 copies
Nature Through the Seasons (1975) 148 copies
The Ship's Cat (1977) 122 copies
Richard Adams's Favorite Animal Stories (1979) — Editor — 73 copies
Nature Day and Night (1978) 62 copies
The Day Gone By (1990) 59 copies
A Nature Diary (1985) 35 copies
The Legend of Te Tuna (1982) 32 copies
The Outlandish Knight (1999) 27 copies
Daniel (2006) 19 copies
The Bureaucats (1985) 15 copies
Maia, Parts 1 and 2 (1987) 9 copies
Watership Down / Shardik (1900) 9 copies
Adams Richard 3 copies
Maia: The Serrelinda (1989) 3 copies
Maia: The Slave-Girl (1989) 3 copies
Maia: The Peasant (1989) 3 copies
Ruohometsän kansa (2018) 2 copies
Maia: The Suban (1989) 2 copies
Campion [short story] (1996) 1 copy
Crab [short story] (1980) 1 copy
Sandwort [short story] (1996) 1 copy
Flyairth [short story] (1996) 1 copy

Associated Works

Stories: All-New Tales (2010) — Contributor — 1,402 copies
Watership Down [1978 film] (1978) — Original book — 155 copies
The Private Life of the Rabbit (1965) — Introduction, some editions — 119 copies
The Phoenix Tree: An Anthology of Myth Fantasy (1980) — Contributor — 72 copies
Shivers for Christmas (1995) — Contributor — 23 copies
Kingdoms of Sorcery: An Anthology of Adult Fantasy (1976) — Contributor — 21 copies
The Plague Dogs [1982 film] — Original book — 19 copies
The Thorny Paradise: Writers on Writing for Children (1975) — Contributor — 15 copies
Guardian Angels (1987) — Contributor — 12 copies
Gentle Footprints (2010) — Contributor — 2 copies
The Girl in a Swing [1988 film] (2014) — Original book — 2 copies
Watership Down [2018 TV mini series] (2018) — Original book — 1 copy


20th century (197) adventure (490) allegory (202) animals (1,217) anthology (191) anthropomorphic (90) anthropomorphism (150) British (205) British literature (167) children (148) children's (288) children's literature (185) classic (564) classics (540) dogs (130) ebook (120) England (252) English (107) English literature (122) fantasy (2,721) favorites (120) fiction (4,391) hardcover (106) horror (102) literature (344) nature (136) novel (533) own (165) owned (92) paperback (151) rabbits (1,068) read (441) Richard Adams (141) science fiction (125) sff (125) short stories (405) talking animals (90) to-read (1,434) unread (238) young adult (243)

Common Knowledge

Legal name
Adams, Richard George
Date of death
Burial location
Donated to Medical Science
Country (for map)
England, UK
Newbury, Berkshire, England, UK
Place of death
Oxford, Oxfordshire, England, UK
Cause of death
complications of a blood disorder
Places of residence
Isle of Man
Whitchurch, Hampshire, England, UK
Bradfield College
Worcester College, University of Oxford (BA|1948|MA|1953)
Horris Hill School, Newbury
civil servant
Assistant Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Local Government
Adams, Elizabeth (wife)
Adams, Juliet (daughter)
Adams, Rosamond (daughter)
Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
British Army (WWII)
British Civil Service
Awards and honors
Whitchurch Award
Royal Society of Literature (Fellow, 1975)
Carnegie Medal in Literature (1972)
Guardian Children's Fiction Prize (1973)
Short biography
Richard Adams was born in Newbury, Berkshire. From 1933 until 1938 he was educated at Bradfield College. In 1938 he went up to Worcester College, Oxford to read Modern History. On 3 September 1939 Neville Chamberlain announced that the United Kingdom was at war with Germany. In 1940 Adams joined the British Army, in which he served until 1946. He received a class B discharge enabling him to return to Worcester to continue his studies for a further two years (1946-48). He took the degree of Bachelor of Arts in 1948 and of Master of Arts in 1953.

He was a senior civil servant who worked as an Assistant Secretary for the Department of Agriculture, later part of the Department of the Environment, from 1948 to 1974. Since 1974, following publication of his second novel, Shardik, he has been a full-time author.

He originally began telling the story of Watership Down to his two daughters, Juliet and Rosamund, and they insisted he publish it as a book. It took two years to write and was rejected by thirteen publishers. When Watership Down was finally published, it sold over a million copies in record time in both the United Kingdom and the United States. Watership Down has become a modern classic and won both the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in 1972. To date, Adams' best-known work has sold over 50 million copies world-wide, earning him more than all his other books put together.

As of 1982, he was President of the RSPCA.

He also contested the 1983 general election, standing as an Independent Conservative in the Spelthorne constituency on a platform of opposition to fox hunting.



Watership Down in Centipede Press (August 2023)
Watership Down in The Green Dragon (July 2023)
Richard Adams in Legacy Libraries (July 2018)
Watership Down in Someone explain it to me... (January 2017)
Group Read: Watership Down (Spoiler) in 75 Books Challenge for 2011 (September 2012)
Group Read: Watership Down (Non-spoiler) in 75 Books Challenge for 2011 (July 2011)


I'll never look at bunnies the same way again. What a truly wonderful book. I had somehow managed to miss it all these years, but kept seeing it on all kinds of "best of" lists so I finally sat down and checked it out. All of the rabbits really come alive with their amazing personalities. Hazel is the quiet leader. Bigwig is the muscle (with a heart). Dandelion is the storyteller who is also blazingly fast. Blackberry is the brains of the group. And Fiver is their soul. Others come into the story to threaten or help this group find a home. They go through many many trials, but they always manage to come together for each other. Wonderful, wonderful story.… (more)
AliceAnna | 472 other reviews | May 28, 2024 |
I’d always been to busy with school or work to get around to reading this book. The reader, Ralph Cosham, was marvelous, so I’m actually glad I waited until it came out on audio. All of the characters are wonderful so I hesitate to say that my favorite is Hazel. I suppose many would pick him, but would their reason be because he believed in Fiver before there was reason too?
TraSea | 472 other reviews | Apr 29, 2024 |
benrowe05 | 40 other reviews | Apr 29, 2024 |
I like this book, it has a mixed stories about animals which I like. It’s a good book for kids and it has a lot of different stories.
mdmanon | 1 other review | Apr 15, 2024 |


1980s (1)
Ghosts (1)
1970s (2)


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