Watership Down is a classic fantasy adventure novel written by British author Richard Adams and published in 1972. The novel is set in south-central England and focuses on a small displaced group of rabbits. Although they live in their own natural environment they are nevertheless anthropomorphised, possessing their own culture, proverbs, poetry, mythology and language. "Lapine" is a fictional language created by Adams and it is spoken by the rabbit characters primarily when naming new rabbits or for stories of their own mythological characters.
The novel evokes classic themes and follows the rabbits as they escape the destruction of their warren and seek a new home whilst encountering danger and adventure as they go.
Watership Down was Richard Adams' first novel and began as tales he told his young daughters during long, tedious journeys in the car; they insisted he wrote the stories down, and he completed the first draught eighteen moths later. The title refers to the rabbits' destination, Watership Down, a hill in the north of Hampshire where Adams gre up. His descriptions of rabbit behavior were based on a book by British naturalist Ronald Lockley, "The Private Life Of The Rabbit".
Watership Down was rejected six times before it was accepted by a one-man London publisher, Rex Collings. It was extremely well-received, and was heralded as a suspenseful narrative and as a book that could engage with children and adults at the same time.Many people see it as an allegory for their own struggle.
Watership Down won the 1972 Carnegie Medal for Literature and was also made into an award-winning film.