Stella Dorothea Gibbons, the novelist, poet and short-story writer best known for her Cold Comfort Farm (1932), was born in London in 1902. She studied journalism at University College, London, and worked as a journalist for ten years on various papers, including the Evening Standard.
Her first publication was a book of poems, The Mountain Beast (1930) and Cold Comfort Farm, her first novel, won the Femina View Heureuse Prize in 1933. She was greatly affected by the changes in society brought about by World War II, and wrote particularly vividly about that period in novels such as The Batchelor (1944), Westwood (1946) and The Matchmaker (1949).
Acclaimed for its sensitivity and empathy as well as its humour, Gibbons’ writing had the “rare ability to enter into the feelings of the uncommunicative and to bring to life the emotions of the unremarkable” (Encyclopedia of British Women Writers), and the Observer praised her ability to “see idiosyncracy in nature and humanity, and make both live”. Gibbons was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1950.
In 1933 she married the actor and singer Allan Webb. They had one daughter.