Former Reader's Digest editor Patricia Nell Warren has written six novels, including The Front Runner, which made The New York Times' best-seller list in 1974 and has continued to be one of the top-selling gay novels of all time. Celebrating 40 years in print, Warren has recently released the sequel to The Front Runner, entitled Harlan's Race, which may be one of the longest-awaited gay novels ever.
A special 20th anniversary edition of The Front Runner has just been released under her own imprint, Wildcat Press, to coincide with summer Pride celebrations across the country. She was the Community Grand Marshal for the 1995 LA Pride, and made personal appearances at Atlanta Pride, the Sacramento Freedom Fair, and Orange County Cultural Pride.
Warren, who has written several other bestsellers and published four books of poetry, has attracted an estimated 20 million readers with her diverse literary subjects ranging from gay and lesbian life to Native American philosophy. Her poems, articles, and essays have appeared in The Advocate, Genre, Lesbian News, Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review, Philadelphia Gay News, Lifestyle, as well as Modern Maturity, Atlantic Monthly, the Los Angeles Times, Prairie Schooner, Reader's Digest, San Francisco Chronicle, Persimmon Hill, and American West.
But it is The Front Runner that is sometimes referred to as, The book that started it all and the most important piece of literature of the Post-Stonewall era.
"The most moving, monumental love story ever written about gay life ... This book makes Catcher in the Rye, Lord of the Flies and A Separate Peace look like Mary Poppins ... How a woman was able to capture so beautifully, tenderly and accurately the mature adult gay psyche is also overwhelming ... This is the best gay novel to be published in years ... The most emotionally charged and romantic novel I've read in years should be on your bestseller list."
-- Richard Roberts, The New York Times
The rights and dignity of youth have long been a concern for Warren. The Front Runner is a novel that focuses on young gay athletes and their battles with sports-world biases. Over the years, her novels have been favorites with young people who are struggling with coming out, or who simply want positive information about gay life. Parents, counselors, therapists and educators have also relied on her books for helping youth in crisis. For many years, she has lectured at high schools, colleges and universities. In the last year, her lecture schedule ranged from Harvard University to Los Angeles County High School for the Arts. She has done volunteer teaching in Los Angeles' well-known gay and lesbian high school, EAGLES Center.
Today, she is advisor for a new online youth publication, The YouthArts Project. This exciting new zine operates off the U. of Pennsylvania and the U. of Southern California Web sites. In company with Webmasters Darin Weeks and John Waiblinger, Warren assists young gay talent in not only publishing their fiction, poetry, art, essays and opinion online, but also in learning how to use Internet educational resources and software.