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. 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.
essay; memoir; poetry; performance art; oral history; Middle Eastern cultures; post-Soviet cultures; urban cultures; immigrant and transnational issues; feminist and queer issues
AWARDS AND HONORS
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).
Her poem “Holding Blood” appears in the anthology Resist Much, Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance, which was published by Spuyten Duyvil Press in 2017.
Her essay "Coffee Diplomacy" appeared on The Margins in November 2017.
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
With Haig Chahinian, Agabian is curating and coordinating The Forty Days of Musa Dagh Book Club, a discussion and reading at the Zohrab Center in NYC.
With support from a Poets & Writers grant, Agabian teaches "Creative Writing From Queer Resistance" at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in SoHo.
In February 2018, she will teach a writing workshop based on Claudia Rankine's Citizen by as part of St. John's University's Big Reads program in association with Newtown Literary.