Chatham News

Author Jimmy Guignard to Read at Chatham University

PITTSBURGH:   Jimmy Guignard will read on Monday, February 8, 2016 at 5:00 p.m. in Beckwith Hall at Chatham University’s Shadyside Campus. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pittsburgh Foundation.  The reading is free and open to the public.

Living on seven acres above the Marcellus Shale – an active gas play in Pennsylvania, Jimmy Guignard has witnessed the gradual transformation of the rural landscape his family calls home into an industrial sacrifice zone.

In his new book Pedaling the Sacrifice Zone: Teaching, Writing, and Living above the Marcellus Shale, the English professor and experienced cyclist grapples with the meaning of place and the power of words.

From the vantage point of a cyclist, Guignard tracks the takeover, pedaling thousands of miles through Tioga and surrounding counties, where he encounters increased truck traffic, crosses pipeline construction on trails and passes a growing number of flaring gas wells.

Before the dust settles, the Marcellus Shale is expected to support as many as 100,000 natural gas wells on more than 20,000 well pads in Pennsylvania.

Juggling his roles as disinterested professor, anxious father and citizen and reluctant activist, Guignard reveals how the rhetoric of industry, politicians and locals reshaped his understanding of teaching and his faith in the force of language.

Guignard is associate professor at Mansfield University, Pennsylvania, where he teaches students to write and ride mountain bikes. He blogs at