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
Author. Professor. Inspiration. 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.