#ZMM50th on the BBC

Later today Saturday 18th May at 8pm BST BBC Radio “Archive on 4” is broadcasting it’s own #ZMM50th program:

Turning 50: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

“includes archive interviews with Robert Pirsig and landmarks of the book’s cultural impact. It also features a lecture by Pirsig, given in 1974, that has never been broadcast before. Chris interviews Wendy Pirsig, Robert’s wife and Jim Landis, the editor of the book. He also speaks to others who have been influenced by the book, including the philosopher Jonathan Rowson, the actor Rufus Hound and the poet Ann Tweedy.”

The podcast link remains accessible after broadcast.


More April 2024 Pirsig News

Apologies for two news posts inside one week, but things are happening in this busy #ZMM50th anniversary period.

The Inaugural Online Chautauqua

Thanks to all of those who delivered our inaugural on-line Chautauqua and to all those that attended.

#ZMM50th Events

We have one new item added to our #ZMM50th events page. If you are in the San Diego area on May 6th there is – a Philosophy Talk on “ZMM at 50” at San Diego Central Library, by professor Steven Barbone of San Diego State University, CA.

Literary Inspiration?

The earliest literary review of Pirsig’s ZMM – by the “stellar” George Steiner as Jim Landis reminded us in the Chautauqua above – compared Bob’s road-trip “quest” for the meaning of life to that of Melville’s Ahab in Moby Dick. Much more recently the RPA notes that the celebrated, and thankfully still living, magical-realism author Salman Rushdie describes his own inspiration in Bob’s ZMM.


If you have news or #ZMM50th events to tell us about, or offers of volunteering to help the RPA, please use our contact forms?

Or if Bob’s work inspired your own life and work, why not share a Testimonial with us?


Pirsig General News Update April 2024

Firstly, a reminder not to miss our first On-Line Chautauqua event (previous post) coming up this weekend on Sunday 28th at 11am Eastern. If you can’t make the live-stream, the recording will be up afterwards on our Robert Pirsig Association YouTube channel.

Monday last week, the anniversary of ZMM publication on April 15th, saw the opening of the “Zen and the Open Road” exhibit at the Smithsonian in Washington DC. RPA member Sevilla King organised a meet-up and collected photos for our album of that event. Matt Crawford, author of the new foreword to the 50th Anniversary edition of ZMM marked the occasion with publishing his reflection on “Reading Pirsig Now” on his “Archedelia” SubStack blog.

The #ZMM50th event attracting the most interest continues to be the #ZMM50thRide and the itinerary of the ride and associated events is coming together. Look out for more detailed future updates on this July event.

As well as updates to the RPA web-pages about these #ZMM50th and ZMM50thRide events, we are turning our attention to the longer-term RPA content and activities beyond the 2024 anniversary year. There are some interesting new Testimonials on that page, and the Online-Resources page has been revamped to reflect our planned work-in-progress. Any contributions and/or offers of assistance with these RPA activities will be much appreciated. Please use the contact form for any suggestions or questions.

See you all on Sunday.


Our First On-Line Chautauqua

The Robert Pirsig Association (RPA) is pleased to announce our Inaugural Online Chautauqua(*) Part of #ZMM50th – our activities to mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” (ZMM) in April 1974.

Make a date in your diary for Sunday 28th April
(Live at 8am Pacific, 11am Eastern, 4pm UK, 5pm EU, 11pm KL, 3am Saturday NZ – for ~1.5 Hours, with the recording available thereafter.)

    • Introducing the RPA History / ZMM50th / Status / Who’s Who?
    • Wendy Pirsig – Archiving Bob’s Life and Work.
    • Jim Landis – The Story of ZMM the Book.
    • Continuing relevance of Pirsig in the age of “Tech” 
    • Q&A / Discussion – Audience questions via chat / selected by our host.
    • Future Chautauqua(*) / RPA & #ZMM50th events & Closing Remarks


YouTube Livestream – bookmark this link:

(*) New to Chautauqua? – it’s an old idea.

More? See #ZMM50th and #ZMM50thRide.


Spotlight on Pirsig’s Talk from 1974

As we organise permanent archive linkage of all the Pirsig-related resources available to the RPA, both textual and audio-visual, we cannot emphasise highly enough how valuable is the recording of the talk Bob gave to the Minneapolis College of Art, just a few weeks after the publication and meteoric success of ZMM in 1974.

Transcribed extracts are also included in “On Quality”, the selection published in 2022, a paperback edition of which is released next month on April 9th. The magnetic-video-tape was only discovered by his widow Wendy when archiving his work, then digitised and published on YouTube (link embedded above) by son Ted in late 2022.

Direct from the horse’s-mouth at the very time he was most focussed on his intended messages. The media-technology is part of the message, as is the creative process itself.

Highly recommended.


#ZMM50thRide – The ZMM 50th Anniversary Ride

After suggesting a 50th anniversary “Zen Ride” – we are pleased to announce sufficient interest has been expressed that we are committed to the #ZMM50thRide going ahead in July. Details of other events that will tie-in at the start, finish or along the way are still subject ongoing arrangements, but the proposed itinerary is now published here.

The ZMM50th Anniversary Ride – #ZMM50thRide

Those of you with motorcycles are clearly encouraged to use them for the ride, but bikes are not compulsory 🙂 All are welcome and there will in any event be a number of people in cars following the route and/or supporting the ride.

We’re anticipating one or more restored Honda CB77 being involved, and we will update the #ZMM50thRide page with other details as they become available.


We’d Love to have your Pirsig Testimonial

As the RPA work to confirm further #ZMM50th events, this would be a good time for you to let us have your Pirsig Testimonial in time for the 50th anniversary date of ZMM publication on 15th April.

Please use the contact form to let us know in a few sentences how you came to read Pirsig’s work and its relevance to your life and/or work. We will add yours to those already on our Pirsig Testimonials page.


First Milestone of #ZMM50th

Hi folks, notice that the first timetabled event of #ZMM50th is the publication tomorrow, Tuesday 13th Feb, of the 50th Anniversary Edition of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, complete with new foreword by Matthew Crawford.

Click to order direct from HarperCollins.

So far as we know, only the “Trade Paperback” is immediately available to order. (UPDATE: That link to HarperCollins now includes links to purchase the US edition from anywhere in the worldNote:  Use the links, hard to find the specific edition in searches. No sign of hardback, or UK / Europe or any foreign language #ZMM50th editions yet?)


RPA & #ZMM50th – First News of 2024

As we approach the end of January 2024 we have a general news update for RPA members. We had a surge in new subscribers immediately following the new year, bringing our total to 108 members. We welcome new members and wish everyone a happy 2024.

The #ZMM50th Commemorative Ride:

Most interest expressed so far has been from bikers keen to take part in a commemorative ride over all or part of the ZMM route. As per the 1968 original, fixed points so far are setting out from Minneapolis MN Monday 8th July and reaching Gardiner MT exit from Yellowstone on Friday 12th. Planning is now actively underway and we will have a further update specifically on this event in due course. In the meantime, offers of help with organising the event(s) or expressions of interest are always welcome.

#ZMM50th – 50th Anniversary generally:

Take a look at the recently updated the #ZMM50th page which now reflects all dates confirmed so far and will be updated as we have news of other events. Please use the contact form(s) to express interest or share details of your own plans. Any Transatlantic sailors out there 🙂 ?

#RPA – Robert Pirsig Association resources

After creating the initial WordPress-based RPA web site, there was a pause to consider possible alternative flexible / sustainable technologies and arrangements for the RPA’s Pirsig resources, but it looks like we are sticking with the current implementation for the foreseeable future. The updated Resources pages have been re-organised, and more comprehensive links will be added progressively. Our priority is to be sustainable, with organisation and off-line back-ups etc, beyond the life of any one on-line “hobby” project.

The RPA itself needs to consider its long-term sustainable organisation in order to manage future resources. If you have thoughts or questions on the organisation generally, or on content / resources not yet recognised, check out the About and Resources pages and please do make contact.

Social Media

Remember that the RPA is in collaboration with ZMMQuality on Facebook. and ZMMQuality on X/Twitter. If you follow, you will see additional items of interest shared there, with an opportunity for informal interaction.


RPA Speakers Bureau

We are pleased to announce creation of the Robert Pirsig Association’s Speaker Bureau. This is a prime time to book a speaker to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in 2024.

Photo: Mark Richardson outside Robert Pirsig’s Otis Ave home in St. Paul, MN.

Canadian journalist and author of Zen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Mark Richardson headlines the current list. Visit the RPA Speaker Bureau page to learn more about Mark and our other speakers. You can also volunteer and/or recommend other speakers.