Richard Adams

Richard Adams portrait image to appear alongside the Richard Adams biography.

Richard Adams was born in Berkshire in 1920 and studied history at Bradfield and Worcester College, Oxford. He served in the Second World War and in 1948 joined the Civil Service. In the mid-sixties he completed his first novel, Watership Down, the story of which he originally told to his children to while away a long car journey. Watership Down was awarded both the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian award for children's fiction for 1972.

In 1974 he retired from the Civil Service to devote himself to writing, and in that year he published Shardik, his second novel. His subsequent novels are The Plague Dogs (1977), The Girl in the Swing (1980), Maia (1984) and Traveller (1988), and his other books include The Iron Wolf and Other Stories, The Bureaucats, A Nature Diary and, in collaboration with Ronald Lockley, Voyage through the Antarctic. He also collaborated on Nature through the Seasons and Nature Day and Night (with Max Hooper and David A. Goddard). He wrote the poetry for The Tyger Voyage, illustrated by Nicola Bayley, and The Ship's Cat, illustrated by Alan Aldridge, and edited an anthology of modern poetry entitled Occasional Poets. He has also written a volume of autobiography, The Day Gone By.

Richard Adams lives in the south of England with his wife Elizabeth, who is an expert on English ceramic history, and has two grown-up daughters, Juliet and Rosamond. His enthusiasms are English literature, music, chess, beer and shove-ha'penny, bird-song, folk-song and country walking.

Richard Adams books reviewed

Bibliography

  • Watership Down (1972)
    Fiver was only a small rabbit, but he had a sixth sense and foresaw that disaster was about to destroy the warren. Few believed him. Led by his brother Hazel, a small band of rabbits set out on a perilous journey to find a safe home. Fiver's intuition finally leads them to Watership Down. But here they encounter the greatest threat of all.
  • Shardik (1974)
  • The Tyger Voyage (1976)
  • The Plague Dogs (1977)
  • The Girl in a Swing (1980)
  • The Iron Wolf: And Other Stories (1980)
  • The Unbroken Web: Stories and Fables (1980)
  • The Legend of Te Tuna (1982)
  • Maia (1984)
  • Traveller (1988)
  • Tales from Watership Down (1996)
  • The Outlandish Knight (1999)
  • Daniel (2006)

Critical acclaim

... for Watership Down ...

"Extraordinary ... magically well-made and memorable." The New York Times

"A gripping story of rebellion in a rabbit warren and the subsequent adventures of the rebels ... Adams has a poetic eye and a gift for storytelling which will speak to readers of all ages for many years to come." Sunday Telegraph

"A masterpiece ... The best story about wild animals since The Wind in the Willows. If not better ... it is very funny, exciting, often moving ... It is also educative and tough. These animals are shot, gassed, choked in snares. When the bucks fightt they rip each other with their claws." Evening Standard

"A great book ... A whole world is created, perfectly real in itself, yet constituitng a deep incidental comment on human affairs." Guardian

"A literary work of uncommon merit." The New York Times Book Review

"From blood and the thump of fear to the pleasure of good feeding, the discovery of new surroundings or the texture of the day, we are immersed in the rabbits' world ... one might, at the same time, be reading some gripping escape story, the rabbit characters are so totally credible." The Times Literary Supplement

"An impressive, immensely readable story, held together by a powerful imagination that soon forbids disbelief." New Statesman

"This beautifully written and intensely moving story is the work of an extraordinary imagination ... a classic of animal literature." Sunday Telegraph