Nancy Agabian


Me as her again:

True Stories of an Armenian Daughter

Aunt Lute Books, 2008

purchase from Aunt Lute

purchase from Amazon

In this memoir, Nancy Agabian tells stories of growing pains, family tensions, and buried pasts. In a narrative that braids together different times and places and shifts between comic and dramatic registers, Agabian tells us how, as a child, she learns to juggle roles in response to competing pressures to fit in as an American while maintaining her Armenian heritage. At home, she struggles with her grandmother’s old ideologies, arguments between her parents, and heated discussions about race and sexuality. In her twenties, Agabian moves to Hollywood and becomes a performance artist and begins to discover herself sexually, dating both men and women. After hiding her autobiographical shows from her relatives, she finally decides to confront her family history and takes a trip to Turkey with her artist aunt, during which she finds she must reckon with painful family histories involving displacement and genocide.

Nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in LGBT Nonfiction

Shortlisted for a William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

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

 a moving story of self-realization and discovery, a process bound up in the liberating act of relating one’s history and the history of one’s family.

–Ryan Call, New Pages,


Princess Freak:

Poetry and Performance Texts

Beyond Baroque Books, 2000

Purchase from Amazon

Princess Freak documents through poetry and prose texts the coming-of-age of a shy, funny, bisexual Armenian-American woman who flees the small town of Walpole, Massachusetts to tell the stories of her family. Agabian’s paternal grandmother was a survivor of the Armenian Genocide in Turkey in 1915, and much of the work in the book carries the impact of this devastating event.

She pays close attention to what most of us overlook–in her hands the ordinary explodes into beauty and complexity.

— Holly Hughes, Performance Artist; author and co-editor of O Solo Homo: The New Queer Performance