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Patricia Nell Warren (born 15 June 1936) is an openly lesbian American author and journalist.

Primarily known as an author, Warren is also commonly known as "the mother of Frontrunners" - the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender running/walking clubs that have been started in Los Angeles and other large cities around the world which was inspired by Warren's bestselling novel The Front Runner about a gay coach and his Olympic runner. There have been several failed attempts to have TFR made into a full length feature movie, but a production with a viable production budget has never materialized. As a runner herself she was one of the first women to run in the Boston Marathon.

She was introduced to Ukrainian literature in the late 1950s by her husband Yuriy Tarnawsky. Prose writer, poet, translator, publisher and editor, she has published three books of poetry in Ukrainian including The Tragedy of Bees (1960), Legends and Dreams (1964) and Pink Cities (1969). She stopped writing in Ukrainian and left the group in the early 1970s, shortly after she divorced Tarnawsky.

Warren, aka "Patches", to her Front Runners family, also frequented the runs and the annual dinners held by the Los Angeles group and participated in the annual Christopher Street West GLBT rights parade as part of the Frontrunners contingent during the 1990s thanks to then president Marty Freedman and then executive board member Don Norte.

Warren often travels at the invitation of gay rights and other non-profit groups, and is highly regarded as a speaker. One of many such trips was to Anchorage, Alaska, on November 9, 2002 for the 25th Anniversary of Identity, Inc., an organization concerned with issues of sexual identity.

In December, 2006, Warren hired veteran political consultant Neal Zaslavsky and announced her candidacy for City Council in West Hollywood, CA. Warren was outspent nearly 10 to 1 by her opponents and was subject to frequent criticism by local resident Jeanne Dobrin. While she was unsuccessful in her run, her campaign was much respected by the entire community for its positive, issue-oriented approach. Among Warren's many proposals in line with traditional city issues, Warren's campaign also issued a comprehensive white paper proposing that West Hollywood become the first city in the nation to offer a universal single-payer health care system for all residents.

How many other gay men have had the same experience as I did? I discovered The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren on a trip to the mall when I was in high school, surreptitiously bought it when my friend wasn´t looking, and took it to home, hid it between my mattress, and box springs...and absolutely treasured it. It opened my eyes to so much (yes, two men can really love each other-it´s not a sickness or an abnormality) and made me realize I was not alone. --Rick R. Reed
Yes it’s a cliché—practically every Gay male over 40 at least has read The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren, a pivotal-for-its-time piece of Gay Americana. Whatever its disputed merits or flaws, it jumped out at me on a public library shelf when I was a lonely, closeted 17-year-old who had no idea what was really possible between two men beyond the most obvious physical basics. Warren’s book was my first peek at the possibility of true love between men and so in that sense she changed my life. If that doesn’t warrant inclusion on a list like this, I don’t know what does! --Dan Stone
The Front Runner is the first gay-themed book I ever read. First published in 1974, this story of the love between a track coach and a young runner has had a profound effect on countless readers. I have had the privilege of meeting the wonderful Patricia Nell Warren, who is still writing and publishing great books through her own independent imprint Wildcat Press. For a recent interview with Patricia, see the November 2009 issue of John Morgan Wilson’s Book Buzz column at --Wayne Courtois
What can be said about The Front Runner by Patricia Nell Warren, a classic, that hasn´t already been said? Unstereotypical. Groundbreaking. Heartrending. All those superlatives are true. And for me, it was very familiar. It reminded me of the school I attended, Hanover College. A heartbreaking book of love transcending bigotry...almost. So where´s the movie? --Eric Arvin

Patricia Nell Warren, 1997, by Robert Giard (
American photographer Robert Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. (

Further Readings:

My West: Personal Writings on the American West -- Past, Present and Future by Patricia Nell Warren
Paperback: 422 pages
Publisher: Wildcat Press; 1st edition (June 15, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1889135089
ISBN-13: 978-1889135083
Amazon: My West: Personal Writings on the American West -- Past, Present and Future

A provocative collection of blogs, commentaries, historical essays and other personal writings on the American West, past, present and future. MY WEST reflects a half century of the Montana-born author's literary career, as well as her deep long-term commitment to pondering her native region, whose ongoing history and human experience still has the power to swing the United States. Warren's subjects range from A (agriculture) to Z (zest), with the arts, animals, cities, cooking, gender, history, politics, sexual orientation, spirituality and women in between.

The Front Runner: A Novel by Patricia Nell Warren
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Wildcat Press; 20 Anv edition (June 1, 1996)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0964109964
ISBN-13: 978-0964109964
Amazon: The Front Runner: A Novel

First published in 1974, The Front Runner raced to international acclaim - the first novel about gay love to become popular with mainstream.
In 1975, coach Harlan Brown is hiding from his past at an obscure New York college, after he was fired from Penn State University on suspicion of being gay. A tough, lonely ex-Marine of 39, Harlan has never allowed himself to love another man.

Then Billy Sive, a brilliant young runner, shows up on his doorstep. He and his two comrades, Vince Matti and Jacques LaFont, were just thrown off a major team for admitting they are gay. Harlan knows that, with proper training, Billy could go to the '76 Olympics in Montreal. He agrees to coach the three boys under strict conditions that thwart Billy's growing attraction for his mature but compelling mentor. The lean, graceful frontrunner with gold-rim glasses sees directly into Harlan's heart. Billy's gentle and open acceptance of his sexuality makes Harlan afraid to confront either the pain of his past, or the challenges which lay in wait if their intimacy is exposed.

But when Coach Brown finds himself falling in love with his most gifted athlete, he must combat his true feelings for Billy or risk the outrage of the entire sports world - and their only chance at Olympic gold.

The Lavender Locker Room: 3000 Years of Great Athletes Whose Sexual Orientation Was Different by Patricia Nell Warren
Paperback: 345 pages
Publisher: Wildcat Press; 1st edition (November 1, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1889135070
ISBN-13: 978-1889135076
Amazon: The Lavender Locker Room: 3000 Years of Great Athletes Whose Sexual Orientation Was Different

Winner of 2007 Independent Publisher Gold Award for Gay/Lesbian literature. Some are legendary such as pilot Amelia Earhart and golf champion Babe Didrikson. Others are less familiar balloonist Alberto Santos-Dumont and javelin thrower Ana Maria Sagi. Some went public NFL running back David Kopay and downhill skier Erik Schinegger. Others, such as Wilhelm von Homburg, were known only to sport insiders. Some, like jockey John Damien, figured in milestone court cases. Some, like jouster Joan of Arc and racehorse breeder George Villiers, were historical figures. Others, like tennis player Martina Navratilova and figure skater John Curry, competed in modern Olympics. But they have something in common: they were gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. And they stood out extraordinarily in their chosen sport. Their stories, carefully researched and movingly written by landmark author Patricia Nell Warren for, create a sweeping panorama and a heart-pounding literary experience.

More Particular Voices at my website:, My Ramblings/Particular Voices

Date: 2012-06-15 10:27 am (UTC)
stormcloude: Heigh ho silver, away! (running horse)
From: [personal profile] stormcloude
Just thinking about The Front Runner can make me tear up sometimes.

Date: 2012-06-15 11:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I know, and that is the reason why I have never actually had the courage to face it.

Date: 2012-06-15 11:39 am (UTC)
stormcloude: Heigh ho silver, away! (running horse)
From: [personal profile] stormcloude
Hehe. On one hand I want to encourage you to read it, but on the other, I think it's the saddest book I've ever read in my life-- and I like angsty stories!

(Actually it's probably tied with Where the Red Fern Grows for saddest book I've ever read. ;)
Edited Date: 2012-06-15 11:40 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-06-15 12:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I heard you ;-)

Date: 2012-06-15 11:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The Front Runner is one of my all time favorite LGBT novels. I'm glad you featured this special author.

Date: 2012-06-15 12:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
it was long due for me to feature Patricia Nell Warren, she is among THE NAMES to be remember in LGBT literary history.

Date: 2012-06-15 12:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
oh, happy b-day to patricia! the front runner is one of my most favorite books and i agree with stormcloude... it is one of the saddest books but also an amazing, one of a kind book. you have to read it, elisa. :)

i actually sent pnw a fan letter because i read the whole trilogy and i loved it so much! she was very gracious!

it's very tender and the reader is never bored. i think i must have read it in the space of one day and night! and spent the next few days crying- but oh, so good!

Date: 2012-06-15 12:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
yes, Patricia was always very gracious in the online communications we had. I'm really happy to be able to feature her for her birthday.

Front Runner

Date: 2012-06-15 01:11 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
This review of Front Runner reminds me of what Americans are subject to on TV every day now, the mockery of a Penn State coach who also fell in love with one of his students -- and another, and another, and another.I am so glad to know someone presents the other side. My, how times have changed since 1974.

Sally Miller, sexual counselor, writer, publisher

Re: Front Runner

Date: 2012-06-15 01:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The Front Runner is for many LGBT people, without age and flaws

Date: 2012-06-15 02:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm so happy you posted this Elisa - "The Front Runner" (the trilogy_is one of my favourite books ever. Thank you:)

Date: 2012-06-15 03:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I seem to remember that


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