Producer: Trisha Badger
Music by Casey Neill
Conversations from the Pointed Firs is a monthly audio series with Maine-connected authors and artists discussing new books and creative projects that invoke the spirit of Maine, its history, its ecology, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.
This month: Dean Lunt, Editor-in-Chief, Islandport Press on the writings of Ruth Moore.
DEAN LUNT is founder and the editor-in-chief at Islandport Press, an award-winning publisher of books and other media that strives to tell stories that are rooted in the sensibilities of Maine and New England. An eighth-generation native of downeast Maine, Dean Lunt was born and raised in the island fishing village of Frenchboro. His ancestors arrived on Mount Desert Island in the late 1700s and many of them moved across the bay to settle Long Island in the early 1800s. In 1999, Lunt founded Islandport Press, an award-winning independent book publishing company that produces books with New England themes. The company published its first book, Hauling by Hand: The Life and Times of a Maine Island, in the spring of 2000. Lunt has edited dozens of books as is the author of Here for Generations: The Story of a Maine Bank and its City. Later this year he will release an anthology of Ruth Moore’s work for which he is writing a lengthy forward describing the ways in which their lives intersected, and the enduring importance of Moore’s work.
SAMAA ABDURRAQIB is the Executive Director of the Maine Humanities Council, a position she has held since 2021. Before MHC she taught in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program for three years at Bowdoin College, teaching courses on Muslim memoir, Islam and feminism, and representations of violence against women in literature and film. Samaa left Bowdoin in 2013 and, after teaching a semester at the University of Southern Maine, left the academia to begin a career in Maine’s nonprofit world. From 2013 through 2015, Samaa joined the staff at the ACLU of Maine as a reproductive justice organizer. After that grant funded position ended, Samaa joined the staff at the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence, where she worked for five years supporting domestic violence advocates across the state through training, technical assistance, and policy work. Since March of 2021, Samaa has been working at the Maine Humanities Council and serves as the organization’s Executive Director. Samaa’s love of Maine’s natural landscape is what inspired her to shift careers and root herself in Maine. She tries to spend as much time as she can outside birdwatching, hiking, and kayaking. One of the most fulfilling roles Samaa has held is being a volunteer leader for Outdoor Afro, a national organization committed to (re)connecting Black people to the outdoors and connecting Black people to each other through the outdoors. Samaa received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s English Department in 2010. She is a published poet and nature writer.
About the host:
Peter Neill is founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory, a web-based place of exchange for information and educational services about the health of the ocean. In 1972, he founded Leete’s Island Books, a small publishing house specializing in literary reprints, the essay, photography, the environment, and profiles of indigenous healers and practitioners of complimentary medicine around the world. He holds a profound interest in Maine, its history, its people, its culture, and its contribution to community and quality of life.