South West Reading Passport 2016: Book to the Future

Special Feature: Library Pick #1, Watership Down

watership-down Watership Down is a 1978 novel by British writer Richard Adams.

Owing to the success of his most notable work, Watership Down, he won many prestigious literary awards and prizes, was able to become a full time author after having worked in the Civil Service and served in World War Two and was Writer-in-Residence at two American Universities.

 Watership Down is a celebrated adventure story about a small group of rabbits in southern England.  The rabbits live in their natural environment but are Able to converse. They have their own ‘society’ with a very clear set of principles, their own language (which is mainly used in reference to names and the spiritual elements of the novel) as well as poetry and proverbs which are passed down the line to young rabbits.

Evoking elements of ‘the epic’ this adventure sees the rabbits of El-ahrairah on a quest to find a safe new home for their warren. Travelling the breadth of the countryside, the rabbits led by Hazel and Fiver, fall prey to other rabbits who are wise to the ways of the world and try to prevent them creating a new warren.

There are some fearsome battles and terrific triumphs and eventually the rabbits settle on Watership Down a hill in the North of Hampshire which, as a place from his childhood, had provide inspiration for the story to Richard Adams.

Although the book features anthropomorphised rabbits and was later developed in a much-loved animated film the nature of the tale which features hardship and violence has made it a sometimes controversial choice for children but the book has become a classic of the literary canon, certainly a calling point for your read of the decades.

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