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Calling all Watership Down fans, post your Q's to Richard Adams to find out everything you've ever wanted to know about this epic novel.

(53 Posts)
TinaMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 09-Nov-15 10:40:03

WATERSHIP DOWN FANS take note: Now is your chance to ask author Richard Adams everything you've ever wanted to find out about this epic novel and his other work.

Post your questions before the 23 November and you'll be entered into a prize draw to win one of three book-sets signed by Adams, which include Shardik, Watership Down, The Plague Dogs, and Tales From Watership Down.

Adams - who currently lives in Hampshire with his wife Elizabeth, to whom he has been married for 65 years - originally began telling the story of Watership Down, his first book, to his two daughters to while away a long car journey to Stratford-on-Avon. They insisted he write it down, and it became a huge success on publication with people of all ages, winning both the Guardian Children's Fiction Award and the Carnegie Medal. Watership Down is now considered a modern classic, and recently appeared at number 37 on the Sunday Times list of bestsellers in the last 40 years.

We'll be sending over your questions to Richard on the 23 November; answers will be posted on this thread approximately two weeks later.

worldgonecrazy Mon 09-Nov-15 16:21:44

Ooooh - so many questions.

Watership Down - Do you think that the film did justice to the book, and has the film stood the test of time as well as the book?

Cmoore7351 Mon 09-Nov-15 17:59:20

What was the inspiration for the names of the characters in the story? In particular Fiver and Hazel?

BearAusten Mon 09-Nov-15 18:04:55

I have very strong emotional memories of both the film and the novel Watership Down. (My copy was, and still, is an old tattered one from a primary school jumble sale.)

Who did you write Watership Down for?

Do you have a special affinity to animals?

Givemecoffeeplease Mon 09-Nov-15 19:36:01

How did you come up with the names for all the animals? Is there any significance to any of them? Fiver is my favourite name of the bunch.

Leavingsosoon Mon 09-Nov-15 19:39:05

Oh, I'm so excited - this is my favourite book and film ever.

Here is my question - did you base the characters of the rabbits on any historical figures? I have read a few articles which compare Hazel to Moses and Woundwort to various dictators which I found fascinating.

(My rabbits are named after the WD rabbits!)

BathshebaDarkstone Mon 09-Nov-15 19:40:35

Who's your favourite character?

lljkk Mon 09-Nov-15 19:46:19

(I've got a copy of the Plague Dogs I'll be reading the week after next while travelling.)

Do you have a favourite animal?

SunnyPath Mon 09-Nov-15 19:57:23

I read Watership Down to my 11 year old recently and she really enjoyed it but got bored with the extra stories which the rabbits tell. (Sorry!) I was wondering whether the stories make it a bit slow for today's readers. So my question is 'If you were writing the book now, would you change anything from how you wrote it originally?'

suchamere Mon 09-Nov-15 20:04:41

Hello - firstly, thank you for writing such a wonderful book! I have often wondered why you chose rabbits? Did you have them as pets or was it just that their society is similar to our own? Also, how much did your experience of the army influence your writing and the characters? Did you know a general Woundwort!?

IAmAPaleontologist Mon 09-Nov-15 20:30:11

Exciting! I shall have to think of a question!

I remember getting told off by my Guide Leader when she remarked that the school field looked like Watership Down with all the rabbits on it to which I responded "yes, except for the bloody battles" and I was told off for swearing. I meant bloody as in with lots of bloodshed. The injustice!

Allalonenow Mon 09-Nov-15 20:50:33

Not a question, just to say that Shardick is one of my favourite books of all time, and I reread it every couple of years and love it more each time.

Thank you Richard. smile wine cake

booksrock Mon 09-Nov-15 20:56:37

I love water ship down and am planning to have the poem about frith being read at my funeral , hopefully not for a long time yet!

I was a local to the downs and on a school trip saw a tree with the rabbits names written on it. Have you seen the tree? Do you have a special love of the south dreams

jeanthom Mon 09-Nov-15 22:28:35

What can we do to prevent situations such as councils allowing building on green spaces and diminishing resources for wildlife? Lovely to see the book again - that could help revive consciences ...

TinklyLittleLaugh Mon 09-Nov-15 22:34:52

I think Shardik is a great book and Maia is a great yarn. Did you not consider writing any more novels in that universe? I think the way you combine beautiful writing with realistic, sometimes unpleasant, detail, all in a vast epic fantasy setting, makes you very much the forerunner of books like Game of Thrones and Prince of Thorns, that are having massive success currently.

Your novels are all so very different. Is it a conscious decision to try lots of different genres, or do you just go with the flow?

VikingLady Mon 09-Nov-15 22:36:33

After reading the Plague Dogs (and crying a LOT) I'd like to know what your views are on animal testing.

It certainly made my teenage self think about it a lot more!

barricade Tue 10-Nov-15 00:19:35

What an awesome competition! 'Watership Down' is one of my all-time favourite books (the animated film isn't bad either, but only because of the story). A signed book set? .... Wow!!

I'd like to ask Richard a couple of general questions, if I may (many of the questions I wanted to ask have already been done so) ......

QUESTION ONE:- Do you have a personal favourite out of the books you've had published? And/or out of books published by other authors?
QUESTION TWO:- In addition to 'Watership Down', 'The Plague Dogs' and 'The Girl In A Swing' were also adapted into films. With the advancements in CGI and on-screen visual effects, we have seen previously unfilmable literary classics finally make it to the big screen. Is there a chance of any other of your books being optioned for film or television?
QUESTION THREE:- What's next? Is there another book on the horizon, and if so, do you have a specific genre or theme in mind?

smile

mandalee Tue 10-Nov-15 07:42:45

Hi, Richard! Must admit I'm a bit star-struck even typing this - Watership Down is on my short list of lifetime favourite books. I think I must have read it at least ten times!

One of the things I love so much about it is the poetry of the rabbits' expression - they are clearly creatures of myth and song, and the stories they tell harken back to many of our own creation stories. First, did you draw on any culture in particular when crafting the rabbits' mythology? And second, do you think you were influenced by any poets' work?

Thank you! Both for the chance to ask these questions, and the opportunity to tell you what an impact you had on my life as a child - it hasn't stopped yet!

Cheers and best wishes to you. flowers

SuzCG Tue 10-Nov-15 09:21:43

Watershed Down - one of my all time favourite books (that can still make me cry to this day - the power of the written word!) and one now that I can share with my children.

Were the rabbit characters based on anyone you knew - they are all so distinct and almost human that I feel they must have been? Or was this just your amazing writing and how you wanted your readers to feel??

Clawdy Tue 10-Nov-15 10:20:33

Richard, I've always loved The Plague Dogs. That ending affects me every time I read it, and it is just what I want for Snitter and Rowf! But the film ending is so different. What did you think of it?

TheDoor1 Tue 10-Nov-15 11:19:18

Thank you for writing such a wonderful book. I read my first copy of Watership Down until it fell apart. It was like a friend to me. I hope to pass on my love of the book to my own children.
I was always fascinated by the religion and spirituality you wove into the life of the various rabbit 'tribes'. My question would be, having now read George RR Martin's Game of Thrones books, do you ever wonder if your rabbit characters and their mysterious lives, loves and wars could transfer into a blockbuster TV series? If it was done with the same lavish production values I'd watch it!

Witchend Tue 10-Nov-15 12:53:40

Richard, this has been my oldest daughter's comfort read since she was about 10yo, she's now 15yo. She doesn't normally reread books at all. So thank you!

You said fairly recently you wrote the book for your two daughters, initially telling them the story on a car journey.
Which of the rabbits are closest in character to your daughters, and did you do that deliberately or is it something that just happened as you told it?

poopoopoo Tue 10-Nov-15 18:07:04

Hi Richard,
I loved reading the Plague Dogs as a child and wondered if you had any thoughts of making this into a film?

DadOnIce Thu 12-Nov-15 19:25:42

Poo - there already is a Plague Dogs film, made in the 80s. Trailer here

YolandiFuckinVisser Fri 13-Nov-15 17:41:07

I'm fascinated by alpine, the words & sentence structures - how did you come up with it?

I recently fed my neighbour's rabbits while they were on holiday & offered them flayrah (out loud) when I had carrot tops for them. They didn't say anything back, my accent must be flawed. wink

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