Picture of author.

Stella Gibbons (1902–1989)

Author of Cold Comfort Farm

36+ Works 7,926 Members 286 Reviews 28 Favorited

About the Author

Stella Gibbons was born on January 5, 1902 in London. She married Allan Bourne Webb in 1933 and had one child. Raised in a poor and unhappy home, she used her vivid imagination as a means of escape, often telling stories to entertain her younger brothers and other children in the neighborhood. She show more held numerous jobs including drama critic, reporter, and fashion writer and was a frequent contributor to magazines such as Punch and Tattler, writing short stories and poetry. Gibbons is best known for her novel Cold Comfort Farm. A satirical portrait of rural British life in the 1930's, it won the Femina Vie Heureuse prize in 1933. In the book, Flora, a socialite, is orphaned and forced to live with relatives in the country. Flora tries to bring order and sense to the gloomy Starkadders on Cold Comfort Farm. To the delight of readers, this novel has been adapted several times as successful British films. Stella Gibbons died on December 19, 1989 in London. (Bowker Author Biography) show less


Works by Stella Gibbons

Cold Comfort Farm (1932) 5,809 copies
Nightingale Wood (1938) 433 copies
Westwood (1946) 232 copies
Starlight (1967) 125 copies
The Matchmaker (1949) 113 copies
The Bachelor (1944) 86 copies
Here Be Dragons (1956) 64 copies
My American (1939) 52 copies
The Woods in Winter (1970) 46 copies
The Swiss Summer (1951) 43 copies
A Pink Front Door (1959) 40 copies
Pure Juliet (2016) 34 copies
Bassett (1933) 33 copies
Ticky (1943) 30 copies
White Sand and Grey Sand (1958) 29 copies
The Weather at Tregulla (1962) 27 copies
The Snow-Woman (1968) 26 copies
The Rich House (1941) 26 copies
The Charmers (1965) 25 copies
Enbury Heath (1935) 21 copies
The Yellow Houses (2016) 14 copies
Miss Linsey and Pa (1936) 8 copies
The Shadow of a Sorcerer (1955) 5 copies
Beside the Pearly Water (1954) 4 copies
The Untidy Gnome (1935) 3 copies
Collected Poems (1950) 2 copies
Teatime mit Kuh (2023) 1 copy

Associated Works

Sense and Sensibility (1811) — Introduction, some editions — 38,431 copies
Emma (1815) — Introduction, some editions — 38,304 copies
Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) (1889) — Introduction, some editions — 7,731 copies
The Virago Book of Ghost Stories (2006) — Contributor — 141 copies
Cold Comfort Farm [1995 film] (1995) — Novel — 124 copies
The Penguin Book of Women's Humour (1996) — Contributor — 119 copies
Light on C. S. Lewis (1965) — Contributor — 92 copies
The Mammoth Book of Twentieth-Century Ghost Stories (1998) — Contributor — 76 copies
The Virago Book of Christmas (2002) — Contributor — 52 copies
Modern English Short Stories (1939) — Contributor — 36 copies
Round the Christmas Fire: Festive Stories (2013) — Contributor — 35 copies
A Different Sound: Stories by Mid-Century Women Writers (2023) — Contributor — 20 copies
All Day Long: An Anthology of Poetry for Children (1954) — Contributor — 10 copies
A Vintage Christmas (Vintage Minis) (2018) — Contributor — 9 copies


1001 (285) 1001 books (321) 19th century (1,898) 19th century literature (230) Austen (899) British (1,211) British literature (1,200) classic (3,524) classic fiction (322) classic literature (433) classics (3,723) comedy (246) ebook (417) England (1,566) English (572) English literature (1,159) family (222) favorites (211) fiction (9,290) Folio Society (259) historical (261) historical fiction (390) humor (1,663) Jane Austen (1,263) Kindle (405) literature (1,662) love (348) marriage (275) novel (1,569) own (479) owned (221) read (1,050) Regency (668) romance (2,339) satire (281) sisters (294) to-read (2,759) UK (235) unread (357) women (321)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Gibbons, Stella
Legal name
Gibbons, Stella Dorothea
Date of death
Burial location
Highgate Cemetery, London, England, UK
Country (for map)
England, UK
London, England, UK
Place of death
London, England, UK
Places of residence
London, England, UK
North London Collegiate School for Girls
University College London (Dipl.|1922 -- Journalism)
short-story writer
Oliver, Reggie (nephew)
Webb, Allan (husband)
The Evening Standard
The Lady
British United Press
Awards and honors
Femina Vie Heureuse Prize (1933)
Fellow, Royal Society of Literature (1950)
Short biography
Stella Gibbons was born in the Hampstead area of north London, the daughter of a melodramatic family. Her father was a respected physician, but violent and tyrannical. She attended North London Collegiate School for Girls and University College London. In 1924, she began working as a journalist for the British United Press news agency and later wrote for publications such as The Evening Standard and The Lady magazine. In 1933, she married Allan Bourne Webb, an actor and vocalist, with whom she had a daughter.
Her first published poetic work was the collection Mountain Beast (1930), but she attracted enduring fame with her amusing, satirical novel Cold Comfort Farm in 1932. It won her the prestigious Prix Femina Vie Heureuse in 1933. Stella Gibbons was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1950. She published her last novel in 1970 but continued to write for her own pleasure.



THE DEEP ONES: "Roaring Tower" by Stella Gibbons in The Weird Tradition (May 2022)
1001 Group Read: Cold Comfort Farm in 1001 Books to read before you die (August 2011)


I hate it when I have to admit I don't "get" a book. It makes me feel dumb. That said, I "get" what Gibbons was doing with this "comic" novel (and there are some pretty funny bits), but not having the background knowledge of or familiarity with English rural novels popular at the time, much of it went over my head. It's also an odd book in terms of being set in the "near future" (it was published in 1932) with tiny details to indicate as much, but I didn't see the point of those or of the conceit in general.

It wasn't a waste of time, exactly, but it was far from a satisfying read.

3.25 stars
… (more)
katiekrug | 224 other reviews | Jun 4, 2024 |
A delightful witty tale (set in the "near future" when written in 1932) of the efforts of Flora Poste (poverty-stricken in a genteel sort of way) to civilize her earthy eccentric cousins, the Starkadders of Cold Comfort Farm, Sussex, where she has decided to live after her parents died leaving her a meager income of 100 pounds a year. Not only must she deal with a slew of Biblically named male cousins (whose wives stay in the village to avoid the wrath of Aunt Ada Doom), but there are the animals---a bull named Big Business, and cows called Aimless, Feckless, Pointless and Graceless, one of whom is always misplacing a hoof or a leg. Daft, altogether. I enjoyed it a lot.
Reviewed in 2009
… (more)
laytonwoman3rd | 224 other reviews | Jun 3, 2024 |
Hilarious. This novel gives D.H.Lawrence what he deserves: advice about hygiene and a good laugh.
Elanna76 | 224 other reviews | May 2, 2024 |
An odd little book. I hadn't read any Stella Gibbons previously, and came at this book with no preconceptions. I admired the writing and the manner in which Gibbons tells this story and portrays the characters. There seems to be a constant undertone of conflict (or tension) - among the characters, among the time in which the book is set, and among the various values that the author subsumes the narrative with.
vscauzzo | 3 other reviews | Jan 29, 2024 |


1930s (1)
1940s (1)
My TBR (1)


You May Also Like

Associated Authors


Also by

Charts & Graphs