Thanks to Bridgett Davis for putting me on the Blog Tour! Read her blog at I’m thrilled about her next book, INTO THE GO-SLOW, published by The Feminist Press in September! Here’s her entry :

My Writing Process — Blog Tour

Each writer answers 4 questions and then passes the torch to two other writers. Here’s my contribution:

1) What are you working on?

Right now I’m in the process of working on myself! I’ve spent many years working on my latest novel, Willow, and so now I am in a state of re-generation. I’m doing a health detox and trying to focus on creating space in my body and mind for new work to take root. My responsibilities as a professor also force me to commit to another mode of thinking, especially when I’m editing syllabi and student work for the school’s online literary journal.

2) How does your work differ from others’ work in the same genre?

I have a hard time answering that! Everyone’s vision is different in intangible ways. I think I like to experiment with language and blending voices and styles. I will sometimes get bored with the straightforward way of telling the story. I think every story is its own master, so it’s up to me to learn and interpret its magic. I love Jean Toomer’s Cane for that—he knew how to tell a story by letting the story tell itself in any form—poetry, prose or play. I am fascinated with authors that don’t adhere to rules of what a novel or poem or whatever is supposed to be. My goal is to experiment as much as possible, to break out of my own pre-conceived notions of storytelling.

3) Why do you write what you do?

I have always wanted to write the books I wanted to read as a kid. I felt like my world was not reflected in anyone else’s reality, much less their fantasy. I grew up wanting to live in the woods, singing like a sparrow. Being a writer is as close as I get. I like to enhance the internal world of my readers so that they can change the external world by what they have learned.

4) How does your writing process work?

I’ll hopefully be able to devote some creative time in July to work on a series of short stories I started years ago. Part of that process involves saturating myself with images that I want to inhabit my imagination during the writing process. I’m in the process of working on something of a Western, so I’ve been watching Mae West movies—that woman was a steamroller! She wrote, directed and often starred in her own plays and movies. She completely owned her world and was never ashamed of taking risks. I’m also reading a lot of Kristen Hunter, who may be one of the few African-American women writers who takes on writing as a white man. Her book, The Landlord was made into a great movie with Beau Bridges. I also keep a journal of ideas and snippits of the world I’m creating. These short stories are not in the YA/children’s book genre. I’m taking some calculated risks and writing adult literary fiction that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I’ve shared the beginnings with other writers and although that can sometimes stunt your work (because you get caught up in what other people think), but if those people are a part of what you see as your “market” you should always take the chance to at least read the work aloud and get feedback. The most important task for a writer in workshop is learning which feedback is valuable for her goals and leaving the rest by the wayside.

Next week check out playwrite, professor and producer Nina Mercer’s blog, Windows, Doors, Closets, and Drawers
Along with her musings, she posts updates about current productions, projects, and collaborations here.

Poet, VIDA editor and professor, Rosebud Ben-Oni will also contribute her thoughts on writing. Find out about Ben-Oni’s first book, SOLICISM through her website,
or check her on Twitter: @rosebudbenoni

Presentation at the International Research Society of Children’s Literature Conference

Maastricht University, Netherlands
August 10-14, 2013

Contemporary children and adolescents divide their time over many different media. These media do not develop in isolation. Rather, they shape each other by continually exchanging content and modes of mediation. This conference addresses the exchanges between children’s literature and adjacent media (oral narrative, theatre, film, radio, TV, digital media).

Media are best defined as cultural practices that forge specific links between senders and receivers of messages, facilitating certain types of communicative behavior. As newer media tend to imitate, if not absorb, older media, they force older media to reassert their uniqueness and indispensability in a rapidly changing media landscape. How has children’s literature staked out its own niche in these historically variable ‘mediascapes’ in the course of time? How do electronic and digital media affect children’s emergent literacy and literary competence? How have children’s books and the newer electronic and digital media impacted on children’s play? What sort of communicative behaviors are facilitated by the diverse media available to children and adolescents nowadays? Which ethical and political issues are raised by the fact that children’s literature has to share its claim to the audience’s attention with a whole gamut of alternative media? These questions are central to the 21st biannual conference of the IRSCL.

The aim of the conference is to strengthen the ever closer ties between children’s literature scholars and media experts, and to bridge the gap between hermeneutic methods from the humanities and empirical, experimental methods from the social sciences.

For further information about the conference, the call for papers, and the submission of abstracts, go to:



Acclaimed children’s book author and Medgar Evers College English Professor Tonya Hegamin is the winner of the 2010 Ezra Jack Keats Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature, for her picture book Most Loved In All The World. The picture book, which was featured in the parenting section of Ebony Magazine’s November 2009 issue and named one of the best books for Black History Month by USA TODAY, also recently won a Christopher Award for Young People. Prof. Hegamin will be presented with a bronze medallion by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation and the New York Public Library on Wednesday April 28 at 6 p.m. in the New York Public Library (located at 42nd Street & 5th Avenue). Prof. Hegamin shall also receive a $1,000 cash prize.

It is an honor to be awarded with the Ezra Keats Award,” said Prof. Hegamin. “When I received the notice that I won this award I was in total shock, but I am very grateful.”

Prof. Tonya Hegamin currently teaches Poetry Writing, Creative Writing and Introduction to English at Medgar Evers College. She received a degree in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh, a creative writing degree from the New School University and is a Cave Canem graduate.

“It’s great to know that one of our faculty members has received such an honorary award,” said Dr. Maria DeLongoria, Dean of the School of Liberal Arts and Education. “I hope that our students can benefit from her knowledge and experience.”

Prof. Hegamin is also the author of a young adult novel, M+O 4EVR which was nominated for the American Library Association Quick Pick title for Reluctant Young Adult Readers list and on CosmoGirl!.com’s Best Summer Reads ’08 List and the teen novella, Pemba’s Song.

The Ezra Jack Keats Award was established in 1985 in honor of illustrator and writer Ezra Jack Keats. This award is given annually to a picture book writer. To be considered for this award you must be a new writer and have not published more than three books. The selection committee of this award is composed of early childhood education specialists, librarians, illustrators, and experts in children literature. The committee looks at books which portrays the similar message of Keats; the universal qualities of childhood, strong and supportive families, and the diverse nature of the world.

Christopher Awards are presented annually to films, TV broadcast and cable network programs, books for adults and children. Special, Leadership and Life Achievement Awards single out individual media achievements and achievers as well. Honorees include David McCullough, Dave Brubeck, Elie Wiesel, Carroll O’Connor, Robert Coles, M.D., William F. Baker, Margaret K. McElderry, Charles Schulz, Art Linkletter, Mary Higgins Clark, Sesame Street, American Masters, “The More You Know,” American Experience, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, The Today Show, Hallmark Hall of Fame, ExxonMobil Masterpiece Theatre, Face the Nation, and CBS News Sunday Morning.