Richard Adams

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Richard Adams
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{{Other people|Richard Adams}}{{Use dmy dates|date=July 2019}}

|birth_place =Wash Common, Newbury, Berkshire, England20162405df=y}}|death_place = Oxford, Oxfordshire, England|occupation = NovelistWatership DownShardik>The Plague DogsThe Girl in a Swing (novel)>The Girl in a Swing}}Carnegie Medal (literary award)>1972}} {{awdGuardian Prize>1973}}|signature = Richard Adams Signature.svg}}Richard George Adams (9 May 1920 – 24 December 2016) was an English novelist and writer of the books Watership Down, Shardik and The Plague Dogs. He studied modern history at university before serving in the British Army during World War II. Afterwards, he completed his studies, and then joined the British Civil Service. In 1974, two years after Watership Down was published, Adams became a full-time author.MAGAZINE,weblink Structo talks to Richard Adams, Structo, 10 July 2019, NEWS, McFadden, Robert D., Richard Adams, Whose Novel 'Watership Down' Became a Phenomenon, Dies at 96, 27 December 2016, The New York Times,weblink 10 July 2019,

Early life

Richard Adams was born on 9 May 1920 in Wash Common, near Newbury, Berkshire, England, the son of Lillian Rosa (Button) and Evelyn George Beadon Adams, a doctor. He attended Horris Hill School from 1926 to 1933, and then Bradfield College from 1933 to 1938. In 1938, he went to Worcester College, Oxford, to read Modern History. In July 1940, Adams was called up to join the British Army. He was posted to the Royal Army Service Corps and was selected for the Airborne Company, where he worked as a brigade liaison. He served in Palestine, Europe and the Far East but saw no direct action against either the Germans or the Japanese.Michael D Sharp, Popular Contemporary Writers, Marshall Cavendish Corporation 2006 {{ISBN|0-7614-7601-6}}(p.26)After leaving the army in 1946, Adams returned to Worcester College to continue his studies for a further two years. He received a bachelor's degree in 1948, proceeding MA in 1953."Richard George Adams", Trevor Royle, Brief Biographies, Contemporary Novelists vol. 1. Retrieved 2 April 2008."ADAMS, Richard George", Who's Who 2008, A & C Black, 2008; (online edition), Oxford University Press, December 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2008. After his graduation in 1948, Adams joined the British Civil Service, rising to the rank of Assistant Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, later part of the Department of the Environment. He began to write his own stories in his spare time, reading them to his children and later on, to his grandchildren.


Adams originally began telling the story that would become Watership Down to his two daughters on a car trip. They eventually insisted that he publish it as a book. He began writing in 1966, taking two years to complete it.NEWS,weblink Richard Adams, Watership Down author, dies aged 96, The Guardian, Batty, David, 28 December 2016, 10 July 2019, In 1972, after four publishers and three writers' agencies turned down the manuscript, Rex Collings agreed to publish the work.NEWS, Blezard, Paul, Richard Adams: Forever animated by the life of animals, 15 May 2010, The Independent,weblink 10 July 2019, The book gained international acclaim almost immediately for reinvigorating anthropomorphic fiction with naturalism.NEWS, Jones, Timothy, 27 December 2016, Watership Down author Richard Adams dies, aged 96,weblink DW, 10 July 2019, Over the next few years Watership Down sold over a million copies worldwide. Adams won both of the most prestigious British children's book awards, one of six authors to do so: the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. In 1974, following publication of his second novel, Shardik, he left the Civil Service to become a full-time author. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1975.WEB,weblink Royal Society of Literature All Fellows, Royal Society of Literature, 10 August 2010, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 5 March 2010, At one point, Adams served as writer-in-residence at the University of FloridaWEB,weblink Department of English | Graduate Programs – MFA in Fiction & Poetry,, 19 April 2011, and at Hollins University in Virginia. Adams was the recipient of the inaugural Whitchurch Arts Award for inspiration in January 2010, presented at the Watership Down pub in Freefolk, Hampshire.Water under the bridge Wiltshire Society. March 2010. Retrieved 2 April 2010.WEB,weblink Whitchurch Arts Award for inspiration given to Richard Adams (accessed April 2010),, 9 May 1920, 19 April 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 13 May 2011, dmy-all, In 2015 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Winchester.WEB, Inspirational figures celebrated at University of Winchester Graduation ceremonies, 17 October 2015, The University of Winchester,weblink 27 December 2016, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 28 December 2016, dmy-all,

Public figure

In 1982, Adams served one year as president of the RSPCA. Besides campaigning against furs, Adams wrote The Plague Dogs to satirize animal experimentation (as well as government and tabloid press).WEB,weblink My Afternoon with Richard Adams, Fezza, Charlemange,, 10 July 2019, He also made a voyage through the Antarctic in the company of the ornithologist Ronald Lockley.BOOK, Adams, Richard, Lockley, Ronald, Voyage Through the Antarctic, Allen Lane, 1982, 978-0394528588,weblink Just before his 90th birthday, he wrote a new story for a charity book, Gentle Footprints, to raise funds for the Born Free Foundation.

Personal life

In 1949, Adams married Elizabeth (Barbara), daughter of R.A.F. Squadron-Leader Edward Fox Dyke Acland, son of the barrister and judge Sir Reginald Brodie Dyke Acland, whose father, the scientist Henry Wentworth Dyke Acland (himself created a baronet of St Mary Magdalen, Oxford) descended from the Acland baronets of Columb John.Burke's Peerage, 1999, vol. 1, pg 26.Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature, vol. 2, R. Reginald, 1979, pg 790. Until his death, he lived with his wife in Whitchurch, within {{convert|10|mi|km}} of his birthplace. Their daughters, to whom Adams originally related the tales that became Watership Down, are Juliet and Rosamond.MAGAZINE, Cooper, Jonathan, 11 March 1985, Richard Adams Follows Up Watership Down and Shardik with An Erotic Epic Called Maia, People (magazine), People, 23, 10, Adams celebrated his 90th birthday in 2010 with a party at the White Hart in his hometown of Whitchurch, Hampshire, where Sir George Young presented him with a painting by a local artist. Adams wrote a poetic piece celebrating his home of the past 28 years.WEB,weblink Whitchurch Arts, Celebration of Richard Adams' 90th Birthday,, 19 April 2011, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 13 May 2011, dmy-all, NEWS,weblink Knox, Patrick, Party time for Richard as he celebrates 90th, Basingstoke Gazette, 20 May 2010, 10 July 2019, Adams was an Orthodox Christian. Adams died on 24 December 2016 at the age of 96 in Oxford, England from complications of a blood disorder.WEB,weblink Richard Adams, best-selling British author of 'Watership Down,' dies at 96, The Washington Post, 10 July 2019, 28 December 2016, Harrison Smith, NEWS, Watership Down Enterprises, Requiescat in Pace,weblink 27 December 2016, 27 December 2016, NEWS, Watership Down author Richard Adams dies aged 96, 27 December 2016, BBC News,weblink 27 December 2016, WEB, Richard Adams: The man who turned a story about rabbits into a best-seller, 27 December 2016, BBC News,weblink 10 July 2019,


  • Watership Down (1972) {{ISBN|978-0-7432-7770-9}}
  • Shardik (1974) {{ISBN|978-0-380-00516-1}}
  • Nature Through the Seasons (1975) {{ISBN|978-0-7226-5007-3}}
  • The Tyger Voyage (1976) {{ISBN|978-0-394-40796-8}} (reprinted 2013, David R. Godine, Publisher, {{ISBN|978-1-56792-491-6}})
  • The Plague Dogs (1977) {{ISBN|978-0-345-49402-3}}
  • The Ship's Cat (1977, text of picture book illustrated by Alan Aldridge) {{ISBN|978-0-394-42334-0}}
  • Nature Day and Night (1978) {{ISBN|0-7226-5359-X}} (with M. D. Hooper)
  • The Girl in a Swing (1980) {{ISBN|978-0-7139-1407-8}}
  • The Iron Wolf and Other Stories (1980), published in the US as The Unbroken Web: Stories and Fables. Color Illustrations by Yvonne Gilbert, b&w illustrations by Jennifer Campbell. {{ISBN|978-0-517-40375-4}}
  • The Legend of Te Tuna (1982), Sylvester & Orphanos, {{ISBN|978-0-283-99393-0}}
  • Voyage Through the Antarctic (1982 with Ronald Lockley), Allen Lane {{ISBN|0-7139-1396-7}}
  • Maia (1984) {{ISBN|978-0-517-62993-2}}
  • A Nature Diary (1985) {{ISBN|0-670-80105-4}}, {{ISBN|978-0-670-80105-3}}
  • The Bureaucats (1985) {{ISBN|0-670-80120-8}}, {{ISBN|978-0-670-80120-6}}
  • Traveller (1988) {{ISBN|978-0-394-57055-6}}
  • The Day Gone By (autobiography) (1990) {{ISBN|978-0-679-40117-9}}
  • Tales from Watership Down (collection of linked stories) (1996) {{ISBN|978-0-380-72934-0}}
  • The Outlandish Knight (1999) {{ISBN|978-0-7278-7033-9}}
  • Daniel (2006) {{ISBN|1-903110-37-8}}
  • "Leopard Aware" in Gentle Footprints (2010) {{ISBN|978-1-907335-04-4}}



. Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 2 August 2012."Guardian children's fiction prize relaunched: Entry details and list of past winners". The Guardian 12 March 2001. Retrieved 10 July 2019.}}

External links

{{RichardAdams|state=expanded}}{{Watership Down}}{{Authority control}}

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