The RPA maintains a list of speakers who may be available to present talks on Pirsig-related topics. If you would like to be part of our Speakers Bureau, please submit your details using the #ZMM50th contact form.
If you would like to contact to make arrangements with a speaker, please also use the contact form(s).
Mark Richardson is a journalist who followed Robert Pirsig’s Zen route across America in 2004, riding his old dirt bike on the same roads and meeting with John Sutherland and Gennie DeWeese, among others. His book about the journey, Zen and Now: On the trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, was published by Knopf in 2008, and is part road-trip journal and part biography of Robert Pirsig himself, who contributed (reluctantly) to its various manuscripts.
At the time, Mark was the editor of the automotive section of the Toronto Star, and is now an automotive journalist with The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper. He’s since driven the length of the Trans-Canada Highway for a book published in 2012, Canada’s Road, and again in 2023 for an all-new book to be published in 2025, The Drive Across Canada. On every road trip, and in everything in life, Mark tries to live by the principles of the Metaphysics of Quality, though he doesn’t always succeed.
CAN SPEAK ON: Robert M. Pirsig’s biography and his own road-trip “Zen and Now” retracing the ZMM route as a “Pirsig Pilgrim” in 2004.
BASED OUT OF: Toronto, Canada.
CONTACT: Contact the RPA for Mark Richardson’s contact info (link).
Lee Glover travelled the ZMM route multiple times from 2008 through 2014. During his travels he conducted extensive research on the locations described in the book and various stories of people and places along the route. Lee created a film “Meridian” which was premiered at the 2012 Pirsig Chautauqua in Bozeman, Montana, and has been involved in other Pirsig film projects.
He took a much needed break from researching ZMM and is currently a manager at a large software company. His travels and extensive research have given him some unique insights into Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance and the Metaphysics of Quality.
CAN SPEAK ON : If an opportunity for a presentation is available as part of the 50th anniversary celebration he is able to share little know facts about the route, the stories and the philosophy of Quality.
BASED OUT OF : Nampa, Idaho, USA.
WEBSITES : TBA
CONTACT : Contact the RPA for Lee Glover’s contact info (link)
David Buchanan is a philosophy teacher with a special interest in Pirsig’s MoQ. In October of 2009 Robert Pirsig said that Dr. Anthony McWatt and David Buchanan “are the two foremost philosophers today on the Metaphysics of Quality and its implications,” but David Buchanan insists that Pirsig’s claim is a ridiculous exaggeration – for which he will always be grateful.
David has given informal talks on Pirsig’s books at the University of Liverpool, Oxford University, Montana State University, and the University of Idaho. He wrote a Master’s thesis comparing Robert Pirsig’s work with the Pragmatism and Radical Empiricism of William James. One of his thesis advisors was Dr. Ronald DiSanto, co-author of the Guidebook to Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
CAN SPEAK ON : Robert M. Pirsig’s philosophical work and its relation to the wider canon of philosophy, in particular the relationship to the US Pragmatists, including the Radical Empiricism of William James
BASED OUT OF : Denver, Colorado, USA.
WEBSITES : TBA
CONTACT : Contact the RPA for Dave Buchanan’s contact info (link)
Henry Gurr is an experimental research physicist turned educator. He began using Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in his physics classes at the University of South Carolina-Aiken to teach critical thinking. His interest developed into correspondence with author Robert M. Pirsig, and in 2002 Gurr became a “PirsigPilgrim,” retracing the Zen route in and documenting the scenes in photos. Gurr’s photos and copious research into ZMM are available on his comprehensive ZMMQuality website. (LINK)
Gurr co-authored with James Essinger A Woman of Quality: Sarah Vinke, “The Divine Sarah,” and the Quest for the Origins of Robert Pirsig’s Metaphysics of Quality in his Book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, an unorthodox biography of Sarah Vinke, Pirsig’s Delphic colleague at Montana State who asked “Are you teaching Quality?” Dr. Gurr continues to research Pirsig’s novels and Metaphysics of Quality (MOQ) ideas as well as Theory of Mind.
CAN SPEAK ON : Robert M. Pirsig’s Quality, his own road-trips retracing the “Zen route” as a Pirsig Pilgrim or any of the Topics that can be found on his ZMMQuality WebSite, including his Theory of Mind.
BASED OUT OF : Aiken, South Carolina, USA.
CONTACT : Contact the RPA for Henry Gurr’s contact info (link)
(or contact directly via his own web-pages, above).
Ian Glendinning is a Systems Engineer turned Systems Thinking philosophy researcher. The scope of that research is primarily epistemological – what, why and how do we know? – and ranges from the metaphysical via the cybernetics of individual human persons and minds to the governance of complex human societies and ecosystems. Pirsig’s work – both ZMM and Lila – was an early formative part of that thought journey and the stack of systems in that research still maps well to the levels of Pirsig’s Metaphysics of Quality, even though the scope now extends to 21st C cognitive science developments and more.
Ian’s Pirsig Biographical Timeline, part of his Pirsig Pages, was created to help understand Pirsig’s own thought journey and has been much used by other writers and researchers. Part of that journey involved visiting locations on both the ZMM and Lila road-trips, during a period of years living and working in the US. The intention now is that those pages, the collection of content and links to global Pirsig resources, are consolidated and updated with other sources into a sustainable format under the RPA. Volunteers and content update contributions gladly accepted.
CAN SPEAK ON : Evolving understanding of Pirsig’s quality-based metaphysics and his own Systems Thinking thought journey. The RPA itself, its status, membership and plans for the future.
BASED OUT OF : NE England, UK
CONTACT : Contact RPA for Ian Glendinning’s contact info (link)
(or contact directly via his own web-pages, above).
Matthew B Crawford is author of several books including “Shop Class as Soul Craft”, “The World Beyond Your Head” and “Why We Drive”. He also wrote “Why Robert Pirsig’s ‘Zen and the Art of
Motorcycle Maintenance’ Still Resonates Today” for the Smithsonian Magazine in 2020, which forms the new foreword to the 2024 50th Anniversary Edition of ZMM.
Paul F Johnson is curator of Transportation History at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History which includes a collection of Pirsig exhibits. He has also published several articles about Pirsig in the context of his motorcycle and sailboat.