Author of the Week - Anna Sewell

Anna Sewell would be what the music industry would call a 'One Hit Wonder'. Born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England to a devout Quaker family, Anna had a lot of potential. Her mother Mary Wright Sewell was a successful author of children's books. Anna was basically home schooled, something that was not uncommon in the that time period. Due to her mother's religious and educational convictions, Anna received a very rigorous and thorough education. When she was twelve her family moved to a larger town where Sewell attended school for the first time, exposing her to higher mathematics and foreign languages. At fourteen Anna slipped while walking home from school, injuring her ankles severely. Her father moved the family in 1836 to Brightonin, hoping that the climate would speed her recovery. However, due to mistreatment, Anna was lame for the rest of her life, unable to stand without a crutch or for any length of time. This began her love of horses, for she frequently used horse-drawn carriages for mobility.

As she began to travel more, Anna surrounded herself with authors, writers, poets, and philosophers.

Anna Sewell only published one book, Black Beauty written between 1871 and 1877. During this time her health had begun to decline. She often went to bed so weak she could barely write. She dictated the text to her mother who wrote them on slips of paper and then transcribed them. Anna sold her novel to local publisher Jarrolds for £40 in 1877 at the age of 57. Although now considered a children's book, she originally wrote it for those who worked with horses. The book sales broke publishing records and at the time was considered to be the sixth best selling book in the English language. Anna got to see little of her success. Six months after publishing her book, she passed away.

Today her book is a classic, but what I take from her story is that sometimes an author has such a wonderful story within them that nothing will stop them from getting it out.