Anna Sewell was born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. Her parents were Quakers, and consequently were active in many of the liberal campaigns of the day.
As a young girl, Sewell had a serious accident, which smashed the bones of her ankles irreparably, leaving her crippled for the rest of her life. She took to editing the popular children’s literature written by her mother, one of whose works sold over a million copies! In her early twenties, her life was revolutionised by the purchase of a chaise and pony, which gave her some degree of freedom - allowing her to drive herself about.
She did not begin writing until 1870, at the age of fifty, when she became almost totally housebound. She returned to Norfolk with her mother and began work on Black Beauty, her only novel.