English novelist Anna Sewell was born on March 30, 1820 in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. She is best known as the author of the classic novel Black Beauty. She was raised in a devoutly Quaker family. Her mother, Mary Wright Sewell was a successful author of children's books. When Anna was twelve, the family moved to Stoke Newington where she attended school for the first time. Two years later, however, she slipped while walking home from school and severely injured both of her ankles. Because of mistreatment of her injury, for the rest of her life Anna was unable to stand without a crutch or to walk for any length of time. For greater mobility, she frequently used horse-drawn carriages, which contributed to her love of horses and concern for the humane treatment of animals. Sewell's only published work was Black Beauty (written between 1871- 1877). During this time Anna’s health was in steady decline. She was often so weak that she was confined to her bed and writing was a challenge. She dictated the text to her mother and from 1876 began to write on slips of paper which her mother then transcribed. Although it is now considered a children's classic, she originally wrote it for those who worked with horses. She said "a special aim [was] to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses.” Sewell died of hepatitis on April 25, 1878, five months after her book was published. She was buried in the Quaker burial-ground at Lammas near Buxton, Norfolk.
Michael Thomas Barry is the author of Great Britain’s Literary Legends. The book can be purchased from Amazon through the following links: