Nelly Abravanel graduated from Harvard College in 2005 with a degree in History of Art and Architecture. After graduation, she returned to Athens, Greece, where she was born and raised, and worked briefly for a Greek TV station. In late 2006, she moved to London and got her Master's degree in Media and Communications at the London School of Economics. After writing a dissertation on the British newspapers' coverage of London Fashion Week and the "size zero model" debate, she decided that maybe, the old fashioned newspaper medium wasn't a bad place to begin her career as a journalist. So she moved back home, and from 2007 to 2012, worked as an arts editor for Kathimerini newspaper, a Greek national newspaper that is affiliated with, and distributor of, the International New York Times in Greece. She's written opinion pieces on cultural and social issues and done interviews with museum directors, including, Vicente Todoli, Adam Weinberg and James Cuno, who was also her freshman seminar professor, as well as artists such as Thomas Struth, Trisha Brown, Gilbert and George, and Jurgen Teller. -- In December 2012, she decided to leave the newspaper and practice her skills in writing fiction.
She writes, "Giving some reflective thought on my study in art history, I feel that the two classes I took with Ewa Lajer Burcharth were what prompted me to always think about gender, whatever the issue was. I did not become a feminist, but the gender angle became engrained in the way I analyzed and understood things, whether that was during an exhibition review for the newspaper I worked for, or the manner I read books or the way I plunged into a conversation with colleagues and friends alike. And for me, coming from Athens, and having had a predominantly Greek education all my life, where gender does not figure prominently in either a daily or academic discourse, this was life-changing.
Then, my almost one-on-one (it was me and another student, Sarah!) tutorial with Yves-Alain Bois was another HAA milestone for me. I was initially horrified to be in such proximity to the then chair of the department. But it was such a privilege to learn from him the importance of understanding and questioning difficult theoretical concepts (oh good, old Foucault…), all the while driving around Massachusetts, visiting obscure museums and art galleries. Interestingly, in these sessions, the visual always came second. It was the theory that mattered. And theory exists everywhere and about everything...
Last but not least, and although it might sound cliche, my years in the History of Art and Architecture department taught me how to see. I learned how to look for connections and how to appreciate symbolism. It's helped me in my journalistic career, and it's definitely defining the way I approach my fiction writing."