Anna Sewell

Born on 30 March 1820 in Norfolk, England, Anna Sewell wrote only one book—Black Beauty: The Autobiography of a Horse that was published in November 1877. Little did she know that it would become one of the bestselling and most loved classics of all time. From an early age, Anna Sewell assisted her mother, Mary Wright Sewell, a well-known author of children’s books, in editing her manuscripts. For lack of means and fortune, she was home-schooled.

At 14, she slipped and gravely injured her ankles. Following this mishap, she spent most of her life confined to her home, and her mobility depended only on horsedrawn carriages. A fictional autobiography of a high-bred horse, Black Beauty was not just a novel for children. Anna Sewell’s intent behind writing the book was, ‘to induce kindness, sympathy, and an understanding treatment of horses’. The use of anthropomorphism as a literary device in Black Beauty stems from her love of horses and her deep resentment against the ill-treatment of animals. Anna Sewell never married. She died in 1878, five months after Black Beauty was published.