Han was part of the INCLUDAS team between September – December, 2022 as the Fall Events Intern. We are so excited to have them with us!
What’s your favorite thing about yourself?
My favorite thing about myself would generally be my thoughtfulness. Whether that’s in my relationships with people, in solving creative problems, or in work scenarios, I appreciate that I can take the time to think different scenarios through and make sure that different people and different ideas are included.
What’s the most significant thing that’s influenced you as a person?
Honestly, I think that being in the Tumblr fandom community in 2015 was a big influence. I think that was the first time I kind of felt like I could express myself online and try out different personalities and personas until I found out who I really was.
What makes you proud of yourself, and what are your aspirations?
I think my greatest accomplishment is reaching out for help with mental health in high school. That was really hard for me. I look back, and I have a lot of kindness for myself [when I was] in that situation. That was a really difficult time, and I’m really proud of past, little-baby me for doing that.
I want to continue working in publishing with people who are focusing on lifting up marginalized communities. INCLUDAS is a great example of that, and I really hope wherever I end up also does that. I’m going to advocate for that everywhere I go. I am also a writer, and I hope to one day publish my own poetry collection, especially focusing on my experience as a disabled person.
Why are you interested in working in publishing?
I love helping people put their work into the world, and in general, being surrounded by creativity makes me feel creative too. I think I’ve always really liked publishing. It’s a really fun process, whether it’s being involved with editing, promoting, or any other aspect of it. I think it’s really cool to see the process of a book or any work of literature going from something the author just had in their brain to something we helped them put out into the world. I also feel like there’s a book for everyone. The history of writing is so old, but people continue to do new and experimental things with it. I feel like the barrier to work on creative writing is relatively low. It’s a bit harder to learn how to play an instrument or film a movie just because of the price of the equipment, but pretty much anyone can learn to write, which I think is cool.
Why is disability diversity in stories important to you?
I only recently started considering myself part of the disabled community. I have Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and my symptoms of what I would later find out to be EDS started to present themselves around two years ago. It was a difficult journey of accepting myself, and learning the foundations of disability and disability activism is a big reason why it’s important to me now. If I would have had any foundation of knowledge or seen more representation in media, I think that would have been really helpful for me. I could have even seen symptoms in myself earlier and been able to find treatment, and more importantly, find a community.
I have a very specific idea that I would love to see: a dystopian or post-apocalyptic story with a community of queer, disabled characters banding together to do good in the world in this awful situation, but without all of them dying at the end. I just think it would be cool to have characters like me in such an interesting sci-fi setting.
I think that everyone grows up reading books, you know? I guess the two main reasons for that are for people to be able to see themselves in their characters and for people to be able to see other perspectives and learn about people that are not exactly like them. Especially since books are usually the first thing that’s introduced to kids – that’s the first thing they’re exposed to. For them to continue to see a variety of different people instead of the same able-bodied characters, even if they’re just passing a cover in Target.
What’s your role at INCLUDAS, and what’s been the most fulfilling part about being on the INCLUDAS team?
I am an Events intern, and I’m currently working on planning out the Book Party. Other than that, I’ve been reading manuscripts and giving feedback. I’ve also been helping out with social media plans, especially on what we’re doing for upcoming releases. It’s all been really exciting.
Any advice for those wanting to work in the publishing industry?
Don’t feel bad if you get rejected from a lot of places. That is very normal. Especially right now, do not be discouraged because something good will eventually come around. Just apply for lots and lots of places, especially places that align with your beliefs. My other advice would be to keep reading, especially paying attention to new releases and the trends of publishing.