About the Author
Anna Sewell (1820 - 1878) was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. When she was about fourteen, she sprained her ankle and it was treated badly. That, and a bone disease, meant that Anna could never walk properly. In those days, before the car, horses and one's own two feet were the main means of transport. As she couldn't use her feet, Anna began to rely heavily on horses to pull her around in a cart or trap. Soon she grew to love horses and to be appalled by the careless and cruel treatment they often received from humans. In 1871 a doctor told Anna that she had only eighteen months to live. She was very weak but very determined to write a book, "to induce kindness, sympathy and understanding treatment of horses". Five years later, she was still working on Black Beauty, her only book. By this time she was so weak that she couldn't get out of bed and she could only write a few lines at a time. Her mother would then make a clear copy of Anna's pencilled writing. Black Beauty was finished and published in 1877. Anna died a few months after publication so never knew of the book's huge success.