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Javier Ávila is a professor of English as well as a poet, novelist, and public speaker. He writes in both English and Spanish, and his work has earned him numerous awards, including his most recent honor as the recipient of the Cultural Arts Award given by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. In 2015, he was named Pennsylvania’s Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation. This award inspired Javier to take his classroom to the masses, using the power of poetry and storytelling to deliver a powerful message about unity and inclusion. Thus, The Trouble with My Name was born. The show has been performed across the country since 2016. Additionally, Javier is now touring with a new performance titled The Perfect Latino.


2021 AAHHE William Aguilar Cultural Award
       American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education
2016 Hispanic Leader of the Year
       Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce
2015 Pennsylvania Professor of the Year
       Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
            and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education
2009 Poetry Award, Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña
            El papel del difunto (The Dead Man's Position)
2008 Outstanding Latino Cultural Arts, Literary Arts
and Publications Award
       American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education
2006 PEN Club Award
       La simetría del tiempo
2005 Olga Nolla Poetry Award
       La simetría del tiempo
2003 Olga Nolla Poetry Award
           Vidrios ocultos en la alfombra


Javier Ávila’s distinguished career began in the Caribbean, where he taught English at the University of Puerto Rico for eight years. He moved to Pennsylvania and became a beloved educator at Northampton Community College. His extraordinary work with students earned him the 2015 Pennsylvania Professor of the Year Award sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.


In addition to his accomplishments in academia, Ávila is a renowned poet and novelist whose literary excellence propelled him to international recognition. His bestselling novel Different became an award-winning motion picture entitled Miente, which was screened in over a dozen countries. His poetry books The Symmetry of Time and The Dead Man’s Position earned him prestigious awards by the Pen Club and The Puerto Rico Institute of Culture, respectively. Other books—Broken Glass on the Carpet, The Professor in Ruins, and The Oldest Profession—cemented his reputation as a celebrated writer. Ávila’s books have been part of university curricula for years. He frequently visits colleges to discuss his work, motivating students to become better readers and writers. Audiences praise Ávila’s recent work for being a powerful voice for Latinos in the U.S.

The high-octane, poignant, and hilarious one-man show The Trouble with My Name consolidates Ávila’s talents as a poet and professor.  It is a tour-de-force that will make audiences laugh, cry, and embrace the autobiographical journey of a man who moves between cultures to provide a fascinating perspective of American Latinos who struggle to dispel misconceptions about their identity and place in the world. The Trouble with My Name examines the issues of language, race, and social justice in an eye-opening performance where Ávila engages the audience as he tells the story of his life and reads poetry that illustrates what it means to be the American of the future. Ávila’s show breaks barriers and embraces the diversity of a nation whose history is rich and colorful. The message transcends boundaries of race, ethnicity, and geography. It is a show not to be missed.


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