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Anna Sewell

Anna Sewell was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, in 1820 into a devoutly Quaker family. Her mother, Mary Wright Sewell  was a successful author of children’s books. She was largely educated at home. Sewell’s only published work was Black Beauty, written in the period between 1871 and 1877, after she had moved to Old Catton, a village outside the city of Norwich in Norfolk. During this time her health was declining. 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. Sewell sold the novel to local publisher Jarrolds on 24 November 1877, when she was 57 years of age. 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 on 25 April 1878 of hepatitis or tuberculosis, five months after her book was published, living long enough to see its initial success.

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