Spotlight: Professor Tonya Hegamin

Medgar Evers College extends its heartfelt congratulations to Professor Tonya Hegamin, English Professor at Medgar Ever College, on the publication of her historical fiction novel, Willow. Published by Random House, the novel follows Willow, a 15-year old slave, and Cato, a freed black man committed to getting fugitive slaves to freedom. Though their lives seem worlds, sometimes rivers, apart Willow shows the complexities of a rich historical tapestry. Professor Hegamin’s poetic language and effortless writing style reveals the true meaning of freedom, family, and love.

Publisher’s Weekly described the novel as “A solid historical foundation, strong characterizations, and lyrical descriptions highlight Hegamin’s rich novel about slavery and black/white relations before the Civil War….engrossing and educational.”

Professor Tonya Hegamin has also authored the children’s book, Most Loved in All the World, which won the 2010 Ezra Jack Keats Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature and the Christopher Award for Young People and was also named one of the best books for Black History Month by USA Today. Professor Hegamin was the recipient of an American Library Association Quick Pick title for Reluctant Young Adult Readers List for her young adult novel, M+O 4EVR and part of’s Best Summer Reads list for her teen novella, Pemba’s Song.

In addition to being an English Professor, Professor Tonya Hegamin is also the Creative Writing Program coordinator here at MEC where she teaches Poetry and Creative Writing courses. She earned a Baccaulereate degree from the University of Pittsburgh in Poetry and went on to pursue a Masters of Fine Arts (MFA) from the New School University in Children’s Literature. She is also a graduate of Cave Canem, a renowned fellowship retreat group focused on giving African American poets and writers a place in the literary landscape.

For more information about Professor Hegamin’s writing, visit her website,

For more information about the Creative Writing Program at Medgar Evers College, please contact Professor Hegamin at 718-270-4846.