Joanna Lumley voices new animation celebrating life of Black Beauty author

  • Redwings has released a Christmas animation celebrating the life and legacy of Black Beauty author Anna Sewell, with a voiceover by actress Dame Joanna Lumley.

    The animation tells Anna’s story, and how her love for horses developed – which led to her writing Black Beauty. Anna died shortly after its release on 24 November 1877 aged 58. The novel has sold more than 50,000 million copies worldwide.

    The animation premiered at a private screening event on 24 November, during which Redwings also celebrated the release of a new fundraising edition of Black Beauty. The book has been produced in conjunction with the UEA Publishing Project and launched on the anniversary of its original publication date. It costs £9.99 and half of all proceeds will go directly to the care of Redwings’ equines.

    It can be bought on the Redwings website.

    “This year has been a whirlwind for us here at Redwings. We feel so honoured to have been given the opportunity to look after this special house and the wonderful partnerships we’ve developed because of it,” said Nicola Knight, Redwings head of communications and campaigns.

    “This is the first time Black Beauty has directly raised funds for the animals Anna Sewell loved so much and we are indebted to the UEA for the opportunity to work with them on this beautiful edition of the book – which we hope will make it into many a Christmas stocking.”

    Nicola added special thanks to Joanna Lumley, who donated her services to the project.

    “Dame Joanna’s support on our animation is something we dreamed of and we’re so grateful for the generous gift of her time,” said Nicola.

    “We have received some wonderful words from well-known fans of the book from the literary and animal welfare world for which we are so thrilled, and one of these, master English saddle maker, presenter and author Suzie Fletcher, very kindly read a chapter for us at the event.

    “The shared legacy of Anna and us here at Redwings – a desire, purely and simply, to create a better world for horses – is so intertwined that it feels serendipitous. We hope this animation will educate those who weren’t aware of the impact that Anna’s work had, and continues to have, hundreds of years later, on the welfare of horses.”

    The special edition of the book is now on general sale. It includes a foreword by children’s author Dame Jacqueline Wilson and an afterword by 19th century literature professor Thomas Ruys Smith of the UEA.

    “It has been a joy to work with Redwings on this project,” said Professor Smith.

    “It’s high time that Norfolk’s most successful literary export was recognised for the impact she had on the world, and it’s a privilege to be a part of that effort. We are so grateful to Meantime Media for their wonderful work on the animation and to the Arts and Humanities Council for their support with funding. We hope it will really tell the story of how this incredible fictional creation came to be.”

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