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Watership Down author Richard Adams dies at 96

British novelist Richard Adams, the author of “Watership Down”, which sold millions of copies and captivated a generation of children, has died aged 96, his family said.

The tale of brave rabbits searching for safety when their warren is threatened was at first rejected by major publishers. But the adventures of Hazel and Fiver went on to become a best-seller and the book is now considered a classic.

It was also made into a hugely successful animated film and won the Carnegie Medal and Guardian Children’s Fiction Award.

Adams, a self-confessed countryside-loving man, was a civil servant who left government after realising the city was not for him.

“Watership Down” was created, he told Britain’s Telegraph newspaper in 2014, out of a desire to be a constant parental presence, telling his daughters the rabbit stories on the way to school.

“I’ve got a thing about that. Parents ought to spend a lot of time in their children’s company. A lot of them don’t, you know,” he said.

He wrote many other novels about his childhood and youth, as well as about a period serving in the army in wartime. Adams also wrote a sequel to Watership Down, the name of hill in the north of Hampshire, near where he grew up in the English countryside.

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Reuters News Service