At the age of 14, Anna fell while walking home from school in the rain, injuring both her ankles. Possibly through mistreatment of her injury, she became lame for the rest of her life and was unable to stand or 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 publication was Black Beauty, which she wrote between 1871 and 1877. During this time her health was declining. She was often so weak that she couldn't get out of bed and writing at all 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.
Sewell sold the novel to the local publishers Jarrold & Sons for £40 on 24 November 1877, when she was 57. Although now considered a children's classic, she originally wrote it for those who worked with horses. The book's sales broke publishing records, it is said to be "the sixth best seller in the English language".
Sewell died of hepatitis or phthisis just five months after its publication; living long enough to see the book's initial early success.
Date of Birth:
March 30, 1820
Great Yarmouth, England
Date of death:
April 25, 1878