On Wednesday, April 12, Penn State Hazleton will host a presentation by Javier Ávila, “The Trouble with My Name: Shedding Light on the American Latino Experience.” The one-man show will be held at 7 p.m. in Room 115 of the Evelyn Graham Academic Building and is free and open to the public.
Ávila is from San Juan, Puerto Rico, and is the recipient of the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña Poetry Award for “The Dead Man’s Position,” 2010; the Pen Club Book of the Year Award for “The Symmetry of Time,” 2005; and the Olga Nolla Poetry Award — twice, for “Broken Glass under the Carpet,” 2003, and “The Symmetry of Time.”
His best-selling novel “Different” (2001) earned him critical acclaim and was made into a movie entitled “Miente” (2009). Two of his other novels, “The Professor in Ruins” (2006) and the controversial “La Profesión más Antigua” (“The Oldest Profession,” 2012), explore Puerto Rico’s academic underworld. “Criatura del Olvido” (“Creature of Oblivion”) was awarded another PEN Club Poetry Award in 2008. That same year, Ávila was honored with the prestigious Outstanding Latino Cultural Arts, Literary Arts and Publications Award given by the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education. Ávila’s dual-language anthology “Vapor” (2014) brings together poems from his four award-winning books.
Ávila, who teaches literature and writing at Northampton Community College, received the 2015 Pennsylvania Professor of the Year Award by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. He is the first Latino to receive this honor. He received the 2016 Hispanic Leader of the Year Award by the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.