About The Audacity of a Kiss

The Audacity of a Kiss: Love, Art, & Liberation 

A Memoir

A moving and inspiring tale of how love, art, and solidarity can overcome oppression.

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Rendered in bronze, covered in white lacquer, two women sit together on a park bench in Greenwich Village. One of the women touches the thigh of her partner as they gaze into each other’s eyes. The two women are part of George Segal’s iconic sculpture Gay Liberation, but these powerful symbols were modeled on real people: Leslie Cohen and her wife Beth Suskin. 

In this evocative memoir, Cohen tells the story of a love that has lasted for over fifty years. Transporting the reader to the pivotal time when brave gay women and men carved out spaces where they could live and love freely, she recounts both her personal struggles and the accomplishments she achieved as part of New York’s gay and feminist communities.

Foremost among these was her 1976 cofounding of the groundbreaking women’s nightclub Sahara, which played host to such luminaries as Betty Friedan, Gloria Steinem, Pat Benatar, Ntozake Shange, Rita Mae Brown, Adrienne Rich, Patti Smith, Bella Abzug, and Jane Fonda. 

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Also available at your local independent bookstores and public libraries

Words of Praise


Feminist activist, film producer, attorney, co-founder of Ms. Magazine, director with Ruth Bader Ginsberg of the ACLU’s Women’s Rights Project, and author of Not One of the Boys: Living Life as a Feminist

"I love Leslie’s book. It is beautifully written. The detail she gives is remarkable both about her relationship with Beth, the beginning of Sahara where I spent many an amazing evening, and even her days in Siena. Leslie brings it all back to life. Reading this book, I was brought back to the Upper East Side in the ‘70s. Leslie had a magnetic power, and it suffuses the pages of this book."


Photo Credit: Donna Victor

Wash Out

"I was an art historian, curator, nightclub owner and promoter, attorney, and now a writer of a memoir. As much as I longed for one, I never had a clear path. I planned little of where life has taken me but was instead guided by the finger of fate. In the end, I look back and it all makes sense."

- Leslie Cohen