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Nancy Agabian's photo

Nancy Agabian

Instructor Consultant BWOC

she/her

About Nancy

Nancy Agabian is a writer, teacher, and literary organizer, working in the intersections of queer, feminist, and Armenian identity. Her recent novel, The Fear of Large and Small Nations, was a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially-Engaged Fiction and was recently published 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; select essays have appeared in The Margins, The Brooklyn Rail, Kweli Journal, Hyperallergic, and elsewhere. She was awarded Lambda Literary Foundation's Jeanne Cordova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction in 2021. Nancy is the author of Me as her again: True Stories of an Armenian Daughter (aunt lute books), a memoir that was honored as a Lambda Literary Award finalist for LGBT Nonfiction and shortlisted for a William Saroyan International Writing Prize, and Princess Freak (Beyond Baroque Books), a collection of poetry, prose, and performance art texts. Both books deal with the intimacies of Armenian American identity via stories of coming-of-age and intergenerational trauma (resulting from the Armenian genocide of 1915), with a focus on gender and sexuality. A longtime community-based writing workshop facilitator, she teaches creative writing at universities, art centers, and online, most recently at The Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU and The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in NYC. As a literary organizer, she has coordinated Gartal, a multicultural Armenian literary reading series, and Queens Writers Resist with writers Meera Naira and Amy Paul. She currently serves on the board of directors of the International Armenian Literary Alliance. Nancy is a caregiver for her elderly father in southeastern Massachusetts, where she lives.

Interests

  • Essay
  • Literary Journalism
  • Memoir
  • Non-Fiction
  • Novel

Not to Miss

Upcoming Classes See all of Nancy's Classes


Consulting Services

  • The Novel
  • Manuscript Review
  • Memoir
  • Personal Essay
  • Remote Sessions
Request Consultation

Rate: $95/hour


Nancy's Works

  • The Fear of Large and Small Nations

    In Nancy Agabian’s The Fear of Large and Small Nations, feminist writer and teacher Natalee—aka Na—flees the conservative fearmongering of George W. Bush’s America to reclaim her cultural roots in post-Soviet Armenia. As she contends with rigid gender roles and rampant homophobia, learning the language when her linguistic roots in the Ottoman Empire have all but disappeared, and centering her identity as a bisexual Armenian American woman amid her own secret desire for love, Na is soon left with more questions than answers about where her fractured self belongs in the world. When she falls for Seyran, a much-younger bisexual punk rocker who seems to value her for who she is, it comes as a relief: in a culture where marriage is seen as a source of protection for women, Na has the satisfaction of subverting societal expectations by shielding Seyran from conscription and, after marrying and moving to New York together, deportation. But when Seyran reveals an abusive side, Na becomes trapped in a dangerous codependent web, complicated by intergenerational trauma, political ideals, and, above all, love. To leave him, she will have to choose herself—whoever that is. Written in gripping short stories interspersed with intimate journal entries and blog posts, the fragmented narrative reveals what is lost in the tightrope journey between cultures ravaged by violence and colonialism—and what is gained when one woman seizes control of her story, pulsating in its many shades and realities, daring to be witnessed.

    Type: Book