Nancy Agabian was born in 1968 to Armenian American parents in Walpole, Massachusetts, where she grew up. She later attended Wellesley College, graduating with a Studio Art major. In 1990, she moved to Los Angeles, where she started writing poetry in Michelle T. Clinton’s multicultural women’s poetry workshop at Beyond Baroque Literary/Art Center in Venice. Over time, she created and performed several one woman shows. Her first book, Princess Freak (Beyond Baroque Books, 2000), a collection of poems and performance art texts, documents her coming of age as a “bisexual Armenian Princess Freak.” For the traditional Armenian community, Princess Freak provided the much needed voice—funny, self-deprecating, and blunt—of a young woman questioning her sexuality and determining her future apart from her parents.
In 1999, Nancy moved to New York to attend Columbia University’s MFA Writing Program, where she became a Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fellow. Her master’s thesis was an early draft of Me as her again: True Stories of an Armenian Daughter (Aunt Lute Books, 2008). The book tells of her quests to L.A., New York, and the interior of Turkey to discover a unique identity between her Armenian family history and queer identity, via the stories of her genocide survivor grandmother and her feminist mother who came of age during the conservative 1950s in America.
Nancy is currently working on a nonfiction novel set between New York and Yerevan about corruption, activism, and social change as represented in the personal lives of artists. She teaches writing at Queens College and at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. As a community writing workshop leader, she has worked with women writers in Yerevan and multicultural groups in Queens, New York, where she lives.
To learn more about Nancy and her work, visit her website.