Button reads: "Peep Inside"
Prickly Roses cover

Memoir | Soft cover | 168 Pages | $18

A collection of high-spirited, often humorous essays spanning the adventurous life of 93-year-old Joyce Abell. Frequently on her own from the age of three, she lived on a dairy farm, a hotel in New Orleans, a transatlantic ocean liner, an Albanian palace, and came of age in a boardinghouse in Berkeley, CA. Among the characters in this book, you’ll meet her Communist parents, Paul Robeson, the U.S. ambassador to Albania (her grandfather), and the great loves of her life.

Praise for Prickly Roses

Prickly Roses: Stories from a Life may just as well have been called The Unimaginable, Fascinating, and Unspeakably Magical Life of Joyce Abell. Her childhood adventures rival those of Harry Potter, except her stories are better because they’re true. The world she recounts is all but lost to us now, and so I am doubly grateful to Joyce Abell for writing her history down.

Ann Patchett, author of Commonwealth and Bel Canto 

Joyce Abell is a wonder! To write such a potently frank, luscious, character-rich memoir is no small thing, at any age. But to be able to describe childhood mysteries of abuse and neglect without an ounce of blame, but with a brilliantly clear, calm, long-ranging eye is astonishing. Abell has known a life in which odd things continued to happen, people like Paul Robeson and Langston Hughes managed to show up, and her gusto for new surprises and new days remained unshaken. I adore this book and this author and you will too.

Naomi Shihab Nye, author of Habibi and The Turtle of Oman

Joyce Abell portrait

About the Author

Joyce Abell was born in 1925 in New York City and spent her childhood shuttled between parents and grandparents, living many places, from a farm in Connecticut to an embassy in Albania. After teaching anthropology and psychology in the public high schools, she and her husband
retired and moved to Rappahannock County, VA where they became organic farmers. Joyce was a founding member of Rappahannock County Community Theatre. In the early ‘90s she created and co-directed “No Ordinary Person,” a dramatic reading series highlighting autobiographical stories by local citizens, still running as of 2017. Her recent acting roles were the leads in Driving Miss Daisy and The Gin Game. This is her first book.

“It’s like a fairytale!” Author Joyce Abell talks about the publication of her first book at age 92. From “Of Some Renown,” a video series. July 2017.

For Booksellers and Media

Download a copy of the book’s press kit.