College Writing Workshops
My most recent academic cv can be found here: Nancy Agabian CV Fall 2017
“Senior Writing”: Newtown Italian Senior Center, Elmhurst, Queens: February – June 2017
July 10, July 17, July 24, 2010
The Women’s Resource Center, Zarubyan 34
Our Side: A Creative Nonfiction Writing Workshop on Cultural Identity
Participants’ reading: Sunday, August 16
55-03 39th Avenue
Woodside, NY 11377
Our Side was a workshop for writers of all levels to write in English about the worlds they live in, past and present. For the first five weeks, we read work by Amy Tan, Jhumpa Lahiri, Junot Diaz, Edwidge Danticat, and others; then we discussed the issues these writers addressed on emigration, dislocation from homeland, assimilation to a new land, maintenance of cultural identity, and trans-nationalism. These discussions prompted writing exercises for us to explore our own experiences with migration and views of cultural identity. For the following four weeks, we read to the group our writing to receive feedback and help polish it into memoirs or personal essays. During the last meeting, we prepared for a reading of our work. Applicants had to be immigrants or have a parent who is an immigrant. They had connections (familial, national, intellectual, or spiritual, etc.) to a place outside of the U.S. that they would like to write about. Our Side was made possible, in part, by the Queens Council on the Arts with public funding from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and Poets & Writers.
The workshop later produced a chapbook of work entitled “A Home Calls My Name” designed and edited by Beatriz Gil.
Publication reading:Monday, November 2, 2009
LaGuardia Community College Performing Arts Center
31-10 Thomson Ave, Long Island City Queens, NY 11101
May 15 through July 5, 2007
Sponsored by Utopiana and CEC Artslink
Workshop held at Women’s Resource Center, 24 Tumanian
This workshop provided a safe, supportive forum for women to write about their personal experiences in the forms of personal essays, narratives and memoirs. Basic facility with reading English ws required (for reading examples of contemporary creative nonfiction at home). Participants discussed these readings together and did related writing exercises during the sessions. Participants wrote in English, Armenian, French, Turkish and Russian. After four weeks, participants engaged in feedback sessions, commenting productively on each other’s writing in order to help develop it for publication. A translator was present at every session to help connect those who had less fluency in English or Armenian.
Various topics explored: childhood memories and identity, family dynamics, issues of the body and sexuality, women and work, the personal as political, etc. One goal of the workshop was to collaboratively shape a nonjudgmental environment that allowed women to be creative in voicing, through writing and discussion, their varied experiences. The other goal was to produce writing by and about Armenian women that breaks silences on taboos that have prevented wider dialogue, discussion and thought in Armenian society. The readings, from contemporary female authors of various backgrounds and nationalities, helped provide examples and inspiration. Sample of authors read: Marjane Satrapi, Audre Lorde, Shushanik Kurghinian, Zabel Essayan, Maxine Hong Kingston, Jamaica Kincaid, Jessica Hagedorn, Jhumpa Lahiri, and others.The project included thirteen participants of varied writing experience.
A manuscript of workshop texts, Matnashunch was published in English and Armenian. The book was presented at a public event and reading at The Club on July 27, 2007. Along with introducing this dynamic book, the reading gives the public the opportunity to glimpse Armenian women’s lives and creativity at a time when their roles are changing but their voices aren’t often heard. Participants included Lusine Talalyan (Davtyan), Byurakn Ishkhanyan, Gohar Khachatryan, Naira Pirumyan, Talin Suciyan, Nushik Smbatyan, Laura Tashjian, and Meri Yeranosyan.
Writing & Performing & Telling the Truth Workshops for Women and Men
Beyond Baroque Literary Art Center, 1994-1999