The first edition of Watership Down was published in 1972. Written by Richard Adams, whose birthday we celebrate on May 9th, the story is about a flock of rabbits whose burrows are destroyed by urban expansion, so they search for a new place to settle. It combines fantasy, adventure, and ecology. Adams did not pay attention to length of the novel, age range, level of difficulty, or acceptable subject matter.
When Watership Down was published in America, it became an adult worldwide bestseller. Adams traveled to college campuses to speak about environmental concerns and animal rights issues. In 1985, Penguin Books said that it was second on their list of all time bestsellers. Its sales of 5 million made it second only to Animal Farm, but ahead of The Canterbury Tales and The Odyssey. Watership Down has been used by BBC radio, made into an animated film, and a children’s television series.
Shardik, The Plague of Dogs, The Girl in a Swing, Maia, and Traveller are also best-selling books written by Richard Adams.
He lives in Hampshire, England near the actual setting for the rabbits of Watership Down.