The University of New Mexico Department of Theatre and Dance and the UNM Bookstore host authors Elaine Avila and Daniel Banks for a book launch event Tuesday, April 17 at 2 p.m. The event is part of the 2012 Words Afire! Festival of New Plays.

Avila, who has taught in universities around the world, is currently the Robert Hartung Endowed Chair and head of the MFA Dramatic Writing Program at UNM. Avila will read from her recently released collection of plays "Jane Austen, Action Figure and Other Plays."

Banks is a theatre director, choreographer, educator and dialogue facilitator who has worked on numerous productions in the U.S. and abroad. He is currently a faculty member at the Applied Theatre program at City University of New York. Banks will read from his recent release "Say Word! Voices from Hip Hop Theater."

In addition, UNM faculty members Elsa Menendez, Brian Herrera, Joe Alberti and Donna Jewell will participate in the readings. The event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Lani Tyler by calling (505) 277-7473 or by emailing