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Janis & Jean and Patience & Sarah

Do Janis Ian and Jean Smart make a wonderful lesbian couple?
By Troy Carrington

Patience and Sarah, the LGBT classic written by Isabel Miller in 1969, comes out today for the first time as an audiobook, narrated by out lesbian Janis Ian and LGBT-friendly Jean Smart. Each actress performs as one of the characters in this dual point-of-view story.

BookCoverSet in the 19th century, Miller’s classic lesbian novel traces the relationship between Patience White, an educated painter, and Sarah Dowling, a cross-dressing farmer, whose romantic bond does not sit well with the puritanical New England farming community in which they live.

First self-published in 1969 in an edition of 1,000 copies, the author hand-sold the book on New York street corners; it garnered increasing attention to the point of receiving the American Library Association’s first Gay Book Award in 1971.

Janis Ian is a singer-songwriter who has won two Grammy Awards, one of which was for the audiobook narration of her autobiography, Society’s Child. Patience and Sarah was directed by Stefan Rudnicki, who also directed Ian’s Grammy-winning autobiography. This brings to fruition a dream Ian has had since first reading the print book in 1972.

Jean Smart is a film, television, and stage actress who has won numerous awards, but you might know her best as Charlene Frazier on TV’s long-lasting sitcom Designing Women. She was also part of the rotating celebrity cast to star in Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, which benefited marriage equality. Fargo fans: Smart stars in the second season of the acclaimed series, which premieres October 12. And we love that her character’s first name is Floyd.

The audiobook is available from Audible Studios (


Troy Carrington

Troy Carrington is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.
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