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Literary Nonfiction. Biography. Middle Eastern Studies. 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 Armenia with her artist aunt, during which she finds she must reckon with painful family histories involving displacement and genocide.
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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.
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