Stella Benson was born at Lutwyche Hall in Shropshire, England, to a landed gentry family. Her maternal aunt Mary Cholmondeley was a well-known novelist. She spent some of her childhood at schools in Germany and Switzerland and began writing a diary at age 10. She spent the winter of 1913–1914 in the West Indies, which provided material for her first novel, I Pose (1915). On her return to England, she became involved in charitable work in London and active in the women's suffrage movement. During World War I, she wrote the novels This Is the End (1917) and Living Alone (1919), and published her first volume of poetry, Twenty (1918). After the war, she went traveling in the USA, meeting American writers. She took various jobs, including as a tutor at the University of California and as an editorial reader for the university press. Her California experiences inspired her next novel The Poor Man (1922). In 1920, she went to China, where she worked in a mission school and hospital and met her husband, James O'Gorman Anderson, an Anglo-Irish officer in the Chinese Maritime Customs Service. She accompanied Anderson to various postings in Asia and continued to write, although none of her works are well known today. Her late novel The Far-Away Bride, published in the USA in 1930, won the Femina Vie Heureuse Prize for English writers in 1932. She died the following year at age 41 of pneumonia.