Nancy Agabian is the author of Princess Freak (Beyond Baroque Books, 2000), a collection of poems, short prose, and performance texts that document her coming-of-age as a “bisexual Armenian princess freak”. Her memoir, Me as her again: True Stories of an Armenian Daughter(Aunt Lute Books, 2008) is about her reconciliation with her traditional Armenian American family through the stories of the women in her family, including an account of her grandmother's survival of the Armenian genocide. Me as her again was honored as a Lambda Literary Award finalist for LGBT Nonfiction and shortlisted for a William Saroyan International Prize. A Fulbright scholar to Armenia for 2006-07, Nancy recently completed “The Fear of Large and Small Nations” a novel that illuminates the complex power dynamics of a love relationship bound between Armenia and its diaspora; it was honored as a finalist for the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. Nancy has also written and performed several autobiographical one-woman shows, which have been presented internationally — in Geneva, Milan and Yerevan. She volunteers as the President of the Board of Directors of Newtown Literary Alliance, a literary organization in Queens, and as a member of the staff collective of The Hye-Phen Magazine, the alternative media platform for Queer, Trans* and Radical Armenians. Her research interests include cultural identity, national identity, LGBT issues, feminist issues, and development in post-Soviet nations. In 2012, she founded Heightening Stories, a series of community-based writing workshops focused on social issues as well as craft, held online and in Jackson Heights, Queens, where she lives.
B.A. Studio Art, Wellesley College, 1990 M.F.A. Writing, Columbia University, 2003
Professor Nancy Agabian contributed the chapter "Rose-Poisoning: Beauty, Violence, and the Unknown History of Zabel Yessayan" to Self Defined: Essays by and about Fierce Women from Nauset Press (2016).
She had a passage from her novel-in-progress, The Fear of Large and Small Nations, published in The Hye-Phen Magazine in November 2014. In December 2014, she had her work "Exhaustion, Faith or Madness" published on Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood.
In the spring of 2017, Professor Agabian will take part in the New York Foundation for the Arts’s Artist of Color Boot Camp.
Professor Agabain is a 2017 SU-CASA Artist in Residence and is teaching memoir writing to seniors at the Newtown Italian Senior Center in Elmhurst, Queens.
READINGS AND PERFORMANCES
In October 2016, Professor Nancy Agabian and Gallatin faculty member Meera Nair shared their work as a part of Soapbox Response, an opportunity to reflect on artist Zoe Leonard's 1992 text-based work "I want a president."
In October 2014, Agabian organized "Beyond Diversity: A Conversation among Artists, Activists and Neighbors about the Dreams, Divisions and Direction of Jackson Heights" at Queens Pride House in Jackson Heights, Queens.
Professor Agabian read at the Zohrab Center in NYC in October 2014. She read from her novel-in-progress, The Fear of Large and Small Nations with members of the online Heightening Stories workshop, "Jump Start Your Writing" at Beyond Baroque in Venice, California, in January 2015. She read at "Into Our Space: Writers of Color Welcoming Our Communities" at La Casa Azul Bookstore in New York, New York in March 2015. She read at the Bureau of General Services: Queer Division in New York, New York in March 2015.
AWARDS AND HONORS
In February 2016, Nancy Agabian's novel manuscript, The Fear of Large and Small Nations was selected as a finalist for the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.
In 2015, Nancy Agabian was named to the board of the Queens literary journal Newton Literary. She was appointed by the Queens Council on the Arts as a mentor for in QCA's Artist Peer Circle program in both 2013-2014 and 2014-2015.
Professor Agabian was named a 2013 Laundromat Project Create Change Professional Development Fellow. She helped coordinate the Harlem Story Walk, a roving storytelling event on Lenox Avenue, held in September 2013. She read “Protection from Secrets and Jokes” for the November 2013 Boundless Tales Reading Series, in Astoria, NY. Along with Bridget Bartolini, she presented at the November 2013 Brooklyn event “The Harlem Story Walk: Generating Dialogue on Neighborhood Change,” a Cultural Organizing for Community Change Workshop sponsored by Arts & Democracy in Brooklyn, NY. Her work “Clouds of Paan” was published in Newtown Literary's Fall/Winter 2013 issue.