B.A. Studio Art, Wellesley College, 1990 M.F.A. Writing, Columbia University, 2003
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) was a Lambda Literary Award finalist for LGBT Nonfiction and shortlisted for a William Saroyan International Prize. The book recalls 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. While a 2006-2007 Fulbright scholar to Armenia, Agabian 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. Agabian has written and performed several autobiographical one-woman shows, which have been presented internationally—in Geneva, Milan, and Yerevan. She is the President of the Board of Directors of the Queens literary organization Newtown Literary Alliance and as a member of the staff collective of The Hye-Phen Magazine, the alternative media platform for Queer, Trans* and Radical Armenians. 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.
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.
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 took 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 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."
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.