PATRICIA NELL WARREN is an American author and journalist born on this date. Her first novel, The Front Runner, was the first contemporary Gay fiction to make the New York Times Best Seller list. Warren was born in Helena, Montana in 1936. She grew up on the Grant-Kohrs Ranch at Deer Lodge, Montana,
She began writing at age 10, and got her first literary recognition at age eighteen, winning the Atlantic Monthly College Fiction Contest with a short story. In 1957 she married Ukrainian emigre poet Yuriv Tarnawsky. Through her marriage, she learned the Ukrainian language and became associated with a group of other young Ukrainian emigre poets who became internationally known as the New York Group. As a part of their publishing collective, she began writing and publishing poetry in Ukrainian.
In 1976, Warren followed with a second novel, “The Fancy Dancer“. The story was set in her native Montana, tracking the struggle with sexual-orientation issues of a young Catholic parish priest in a small cow-country town. In 1978 came Warren’s third novel, “The Beauty Queen.” Also published by Morrow, this book was set in the New York City world where she’d spent many years. The story focused on a socially prominent Manhattan businessman, a closeted Gay father trying to get up the courage to come out to his daughter, who had become a fiercely anti-Gay, born-again Christian politician.
In 1980, Warren moved back out West to pursue research on her next novel, a Western historical opus. It appeared from Ballantine in 1991 under the title “One Is the Sun.” Eventually settling in southern California, she made the decision to go independent with book publishing. The result was Wildcat Press, which has published all her books since then, including her 2001 novel, “The Wild Man,” inspired by her years in Spain.
During the 1990s, Warren became more active politically. In 1996-99, as a result of her concerns for LGBT youth, she volunteered as a commissioner of education in Los Angeles Unified School District, serving on the Gay & Lesbian Education Commission and later the Human Relations Education Commission. In 2006, Warren hired veteran political consultant Neal Zaslavsky and announced her candidacy for City Council in West Hollywood. Warren was unsuccessful in the run.