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More to Stella Gibbons than Cold Comfort Farm


The Observer’s Rachel Cooke profiles Stella Gibbons, author of Cold Comfort Farm and so much more (she wrote 32 books in all). I’m not sure if profile is the correct word as Gibbons died in 1989.

Gibbons believed she might have a hit on her hands early on: the girls who typed her manuscript (of Cold Comfort Farm) laughed out loud at it, and when it was published in September 1932 so it proved. Everyone adored it, even if one critic was convinced that Stella Gibbons was a pseudonym for Evelyn Waugh. The following year the novel even won the Prix Étranger of the Prix Femina-Vie heureuse, a surprising literary award for a comic novel, and one that infuriated Virginia Woolf (“I was enraged to see they gave the £40 to Gibbons,” Woolf wrote to Elizabeth Bowen. “Still, now you and Rosamond [Lehmann] can join in blaming her. Who is she? What is this book?”).

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Richard Davies

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