OUR GOAL AT IHRAF PUBLISHES IS TO GIVE A VOICE TO THE VOICELESS - MISSY HAUG, IHRAF PUBLISHES EDITOR Missy Haug is a copywriter, poet, and book editor based in Helsinki, Finland. In this Interview with Wole Adedoyin, President, Nigerian Chapter of the International Human Rights Art Festival (IHRAF), she shared with him few facts about her task as IHRAF Publishes Editor. WA: PLEASE KINDLY INTRODUCE YOURSELF MH: Until 5 years ago, I’ve always considered Youngstown, Ohio, my home. Now, I live and work in Helsinki, Finland as a writer and editor. I moved to Finland in 2016 in pursuit of a master’s degree in English Philology. I left behind my small, comfortable town and teaching job to immerse myself in a new place and culture. Among all the places I’ve lived and traveled, I have witnessed the stitching of lives together with stories. To read and write is no small thing, and I consider myself lucky to be one small part of an organization like IHRAF. To support writers whose voices are stifled, to continue the great tradition of storytelling—this is meaningful, moving work. WA: WHAT WAS THE MOST CHALLENGING ASPECT OF EDITING IHRAF PUBLISHES? MH: The most challenging aspect of being an editor is also one of the biggest perks of the job: I read so many beautiful pieces of art every single day. However, that means I also have to reject some works. Luckily at IHRAF we have a clear mission to publish work that aligns with our values and philosophy, which makes the process clear and manageable. WA: WHAT GENRES DO YOU PUBLISH ON IHRAF PUBLISHES? MH: We publish both fiction and non-fiction ranging including short stories, poems, and essays. What matters most is that the form of writing flows from the heart and aligns with IHRAF’s values. WA: HOW DO YOU RUN IHRAF PUBLISHES? MH: In a nutshell, our goal at IHRAF Publishes is to give a voice to the voiceless. That means we are committed to carefully considering each submission and the mission of the artist. We review, edit, and publish submissions to ensure they align with our values of beauty, sincerity, vulnerability, engagement, and celebrating diversity. We search for innovative ways to reach our global audience, which requires consistent collaboration and communication between IHRAF team members. I work with the Editorial Team to review pieces and brainstorm our way forward. WA: HOW IS IHRAF PUBLISHES PROMOTING THE WORKS OF UPCOMING WRITERS? MH: We publish our writers on the IHRAF website, Facebook, and Instagram pages and founded the Creators of Justice Literary Awards. We also aim to anthologize selected works. WA: WHAT MAKES YOU EFFECTIVE AS THE EDITOR OF IHRAF PUBLISHES? MH: My background as an educator, editor, and student have each given me valuable lessons that apply to my work at IHRAF. I understand that every word that falls upon my desk has been written by a person and thus deserves respect and reflection. WA: IN WHICH AREAS WOULD YOU LIKE TO FURTHER DEVELOP IHRAF PUBLISHES MH: We are considering various paths to expand our reach. There are opportunities to grow our newsletter, engage in digital publishing, and establish ourselves as a niche publishing house in the future. I’m very excited by the possibilities available for IHRAF Publishes. WA: WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE GOALS FOR IHRAF PUBLISHES? MH: We would love for IHRAF Publishes to be an end-to-end publishing house in the future. WA: WHAT MESSAGE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THE READERS AND LOVERS OF IHRAF PUBLISHES? IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT YOURSELF YOU WOULD LIKE IHRAF PUBLISHES READERS AND LOVERS TO KNOW? Keep reading and writing—I will be right there with you. Your words matter and I am grateful and proud to be a part of IHRAF’s mission.