Nancy Agabian Wins 2021 Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction
Author: LeKesha Lewis
August 2, 2021
Lambda Literary is pleased to announce that Nancy Agabian has been named the winner of the 2021 Jeanne Córdova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction.
In memory of the beloved activist and author, Jeanne Córdova, the award honors lesbian/queer-identified women and trans/gender non-conforming nonfiction authors. The award goes to a writer committed to nonfiction work that captures the depth and complexity of lesbian/queer life, culture, and/or history, and includes a cash prize of $2,500.
Judges Lynn Harris Ballen and Ryka Aoki were unanimous in choosing Nancy Agabian as the winner for the 2021 prize from a group of gifted lesbian/queer nonfiction writers who submitted their work. Nancy was selected based on her body of work exploring the intersections of being a queer Armenian woman, including her memoir Me as Her Again: True Stories of an Armenian Daughter.
Nancy’s writing opens up silenced experiences and tells intergenerational stories as a means of resistance. Drawing upon the legacy of feminists and LGBTQ people in Armenia, Nancy’s powerful and generous voice evokes the unbreakable link between the literary and the political in attaining queer social justice. And, her forthcoming work promises to inspire, excite, and enlighten us through her continued dedication to community and craft.
Nancy Agabian is a writer, teacher, and literary organizer, working in the spaces between race, ethnicity, cultural identity, feminism, and queer identity. She is the author of Me as her again: True Stories of an Armenian Daughter (Aunt Lute Books, 2008), 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, 2000), 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. Her recent novel, “The Fear of Large and Small Nations”, was a finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially-Engaged Fiction. She is currently working on a personal essay collection, In-Between Mouthfuls, that 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. 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, an Armenian literary reading series, and Queens Writers Resist with writers Meera Naira and Amy Paul. Nancy is a caregiver to her elderly parents in Massachusetts, where she lives.