Acquisition: Joanna Rose’s A SMALL CROWD OF STRANGERS

Joanna Rose

Forest Avenue Press has acquired world rights for Joanna Rose’s second novel, A Small Crowd of Strangers, about a husband and wife who take opposite stances on abortion, forthcoming in fall 2020. 

A tale of love, loss, and what community really means, A Small Crowd of Strangers spans New Jersey, Minnesota, and the rugged coastline of the Pacific Northwest while exploring how personal growth can fracture a marriage beyond repair. Librarian Pattianne Anthony, irreverent and bookish, falls for Michael Bryn’s boyish charm. When she finds herself pregnant in the early, heady days of their relationship, she gets an abortion without telling Michael, who has been raised Catholic. Their ensuing marriage is marked by more lies: Pattianne takes birth control pills in secret, certain she’s not ready to be a mother, while Michael worries about his new wife’s fertility and becomes invested in an all-male church group. A Small Crowd of Strangers makes the political personal while a woman’s right to choose is being deeply threatened in the U.S. 

“Joanna’s stunning sentences, her sense of humor, and her deep wisdom about the human condition dance through every page of this heady novel,” said Publisher Laura Stanfill. “I’m so honored and excited to introduce readers to A Small Crowd of Strangers. Its political relevance lends a devastating immediacy to the project, and we’re going to work on getting early galleys to press as soon as possible.”

Joanna Rose is the author of the award-winning novel Little Miss Strange (Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award).  Other work has appeared in ZYZZYVA, Windfall JournalCloudbank, Artisan Journal, Northern Lights, Oregon Humanities, High Desert Journal, VoiceCatcher, and Bellingham Review. Her essay “That Thing With Feathers” was cited as Notable in 2015 Best American Essays. She is an Atheneum Fellow in Poetry and cohosts the prose critique group Pinewood Table.  She also works with youth through Literary Arts’ Writers in the Schools and with Young Musicians & Artists. She lives in Portland Oregon’s urban southeast side with her husband and, at any given time, several dogs.


  1. Isn’t it amazing (or perhaps appalling) that a novel with a secret (but legal) abortion at its core, a novel that Joanna Rose has been working on for twenty years, is now suddenly relevant in an entirely new way?

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