December 27th was a dark day for literature, acting, and artistry as a whole. Along with Carrie Fisher‘s death, Richard Adams was confirmed to have died on Saturday, the day before Christmas. He was 96 years old.
The author, known for his first children’s novel, Watership Down, had been an active writer since 1972, when the novel was published. Watership Down is known as a classic that has shaped children’s literature, following the epic adventure of rabbits. With themes such as exile, bravery, and survival, Watership Down, and its animated companion, have been beloved by families for decades.
Adams had a rather late start to his budding career as an author, even though he always dabbled in fiction before. He wrote government reports until his daughters urged him to write down the rabbit stories he told them. These efforts turned into Watership Down, and launched his career as an author. (He left Civil Service two years after the publication of his second novel, Shardik.)
Although none of his books reached the same popularity and critical acclaim as Watership Down, his other novels that reached acclaim were The Plague Dogs (which was turned into a film by the same director as Watership Down), the suspense novel The Girl in a Swing, the war fantasy novel Traveller, as well as an autobiography called The Day Gone By. Just looking at these titles can tell just how versatile and wonderful an author Richard Adams was, and how much impact his work has had on literature.
The accumulation of his career happened in 2010, when he turned 90 years old. He received the first Whitchurch Arts Award for inspiration in a pub, quite appropriately, named Watership Down. His influence can be seen in ways such as this, as well as inspiring other future novelists such as the like of Tad Williams.
His daughter stated that Adams had been ailing for a while, and he died peacefully on Christmas Eve. He always described Christmas Eve as a “magical night.” His daughter was even quoted saying,
“It’s the night that traditionally the animals and birds can talk. It was absolutely typical of Dad that he would choose such a night to leave this world.”
Richard Adams is survived by his wife, Elizabeth, and his two daughters, Juliet and Rosamund.
YouTube Channel: Whitchurch Hampshire
Featured image via The New York Times