Douglas Adams

Douglas Adams (11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001) is a man remembered primarily as a writer and as the creator of phenomenally popular Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, first on radio, then as an increasingly misnamed trilogy of five books, as a series for the TV, as stage plays, as a computer game and eventually on film.

Douglas was an insatiably curious man. Conversation with him ranged far and wide and his writing did indeed reflect the title of his third book Life, the Universe and Everything. He loved ideas and words and thinking and debate. Nominally a science fiction adventure story, the Hitchhiker’s Guide series also contains many sharply-observed satirical commentaries on the world around us.

Unsurprising, then, that Douglas also wrote two Dirk Gently novels, improbable detective stories which celebrated the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. He co-authored the Meaning of Liff books (with John Lloyd), an attempt to define in dictionary format all the everyday sensations and actions and phenomena for which there is (or rather was) unaccountably no word. And his passion for conservation issues saw him collaborate with zoologist Mark Carwardine and write Last Chance to See, an account of a world-wide search for rare and endangered species of animals.

He was also a great lover of language; he admired writers like P.G. Wodehouse who revelled in the use and choice of words. In fact, Douglas was a real wordsmith in his own right, working and reworking sentences, a perfectionism which was part of the reason for his particular attitude to deadlines. ‘I love deadlines,’ he famously said. ‘I love the whooshing sound they make as they fly by’.

He also had a great enthusiasm for new and emerging technologies and was one of the first to see the possibilities of the advancing computer age, co-founding a digital media and Internet company, The Digital Village, in 1998. This went on to produce an award winning CD-ROM adventure game and to start the pioneering h2g2.com website. And as a famous Apple Mac fan, long into the night did the debates with the PC-minded programmers in the company last! In fact, some of his most brilliant writing was about the far-reaching impact of digital technology.

It is our intention that the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Foundation will encompass all of these elements of Douglas’ life and work in taking as its main aim the goal of advancing communication skills. We will start with the acquisition of basic literacy and then look beyond that, helping people of all shapes and sizes to develop the tools to share in the worlds of ideas and creation that Douglas so delighted in himself.

No doubt many opportunities will present themselves in the years to come and we hope that the wider Hitchhiker community will become closely involved in our work to build a world-class Foundation which makes a real difference to many lives.

For more about how you can get involved, see our Charities page.

Our Formal Objectives

Taking as their inspiration the life and work of Douglas Adams, the objects of the charity, which will operate not only nationally but also internationally, shall be:

  1. The advancement of education, especially but not limited to, the promotion of communication skills – verbal, written and other, including the use of information and communication technologies – at all levels from beginning to advanced and the provision of access to education, especially but not limited to, in literacy, for all without restriction of class, caste, gender, sexuality, age, political opinion or religious affiliation.
  2. The advancement of the arts and science including but not limited to:
    • The promotion and encouragement of high standards, innovation and creativity in all forms of the written and spoken word, whether fiction or non-fiction.
    • The promotion and encouragement of high standards, innovation and creativity in all branches of science and its applications and especially in information and communication technologies.