Nancy Agabian is the author of Princess Freak (Beyond Baroque Books, 2000), a mixed genre collection of poems, short prose, and performance texts and Me as her again: True Stories of an Armenian Daughter (Aunt Lute Books, 2008) a memoir. Both books center around the intersections of queerness and Armenian identity. Me as her again was honored as a Lambda Literary Award finalist for LGBT Nonfiction and shortlisted for a William Saroyan International Prize. In 2021, Nancy received the Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction from Lambda Literary.
Her novel The Fear of Large and Small Nations, a multilayered epic on Armenian diaspora-homeland relationships, was honored as a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially-Engaged Fiction. It will be published in the Spring of 2023 by Nauset Press.
She is currently working on a personal essay collection, In-Between Mouthfuls, which frames liminal spaces of identity within causes for social justice. Nancy’s essays have been published in Ararat, The Brooklyn Rail, Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood, Kweli Journal, The Margins, Pangyrus, Women Studies Quarterly (The Feminist Press) and the anthologies We Are All Armenian (UT Press), and No You Tell It (Palm Circle Press).
Nancy has an MFA in Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University’s School of the Arts and has been teaching in the Writing Program at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University since 2009.
As a community writing workshop leader, Nancy has worked with multicultural groups in Los Angeles, women writers in Yerevan, SWANA writers online, and immigrants & first-generation writers in Queens, New York, where she lived for several years. From 2017-2018 she led the Creative Writing from Queer Resistance workshop at the Leslie Lohman Museum in NYC.
She serves on the board of the International Armenian Literary Alliance.
To learn more about Nancy and her work, visit her website.
True Stories of an Armenian Daughter
By Nancy Agabian
Untangling knots of personal identity and family history, Nancy Agabian deftly weaves a narrative alternately comical and wrenching. Moving between memories of growing up Armenian and American in Walpole, Massachusetts, and her later experiences at Wellesley College, then Hollywood and, finally, Turkey, Agabian offers an illuminating meditation on the sometimes bizarre entanglement of individual desire (sexual and otherwise) in the web of family life and history. At the heart of this unraveling is a grappling with the history of trauma and upheaval experienced by her paternal grandmother, who survived the Armenian Genocide, and the legacy of that wounding experience for Agabian and her extended family.
PRAISE FOR ME AS HER AGAIN
"What’s so refreshing about Agabian’s prose is her marvelously open, daring, and honest inquiry into the self. Our “enfant terrible”—she has yet again managed to capture us with her quirky, brilliant stories."
—Shushan Avagyan, author of Girk-anvernagir; translator of I Want to Live: Poems of Shushanik Kurghinian
My favorite song from Nancy Agabian’s improbably vivid “Guitar Boy” punk rock period a decade ago was the genius anthem “I Don’t Want to be a Victim Anymore.” Though as she noted at the time, when you’re a mousily timid, family-mired, Armenian bisexual artist, not tending toward victimhood isn’t all that easy. But you know what? By the end of this splendidly engrossing memory chronicle, she’s pulled it off. She’s no victim. What she is is funny, smart, generous and wise. And she’s my hero.
—Lawrence Weschler, National Book Critics Circle Award Winner, Everything That Rises: A Book of Convergences