Richard Adams

Richard Adams was born in 1920, the son of a country doctor at Newbury, Berkshire, and in his childhood came to know well the Kennet valley and the open country lying between Newbury and the Southern Downs.  He was educated at Bradfield College, Berkshire, and at Worcester College, Oxford (of which he was a Scholar). He served for five and a half years in the army from 1940 to 1946 and then joined the higher civil service in Whitehall.

In 1949 he married Elizabeth Acland, by whom he has two daughters. Watership Down began as a story told orally to the little girls. At their strong instigation he wrote the story, which was first published by Rex Collings Ltd in 1972. In the same year this won both the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Award for Children’s Literature.

Since then has published seven other novels: Shardik, The Plague Dogs, The Girl in a Swing, Maia, Traveller, The Outlandish Knight and Daniel plus other works, including an autobiography, narrative poems and short stories. He lives with his wife in a 300-year-old house (listed) at Whitchurch, Hampshire.

2012 was the 40th Anniversary year of the publication of Watership Down, marked with a new Penguin edition and a lavishly illustrated volume (illustrations by Aldo Galli) from Simon & Schuster US (2012) and Oneworld in the UK (2014).


Richard Adams’ fiction is represented by Veronique Baxter, and his picture books by Laura West.