Desperate: An Epic Battle for Clean Water in Appalachia

Monday, November 29, 2021 @ 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Free In-Person Tkts Watch Online 2021-11-29 7:00 PM 2021-11-29 8:30 PM America/New_York Desperate: An Epic Battle for Clean Water in Appalachia 40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15212 Alphabet City

There are two ways to watch the program: in-person at our venue Alphabet City or live-streamed online. Please note the in-house restaurant is closed on Mondays.  Please scroll to the bottom to review our Covid-19 safety policies for indoor programs @ Alphabet City, including the  proof of vaccination requirement.

An in-person reading and conversation with author and Wall Street Journal reporter Kris Maher. 

For two decades, the water in the taps and wells of Mingo County didn’t look, smell, or taste right. Could it be the root of the health problems—from kidney stones to cancer—in this Appalachian community? Environmental lawyer Kevin Thompson certainly thought so.

For seven years he waged an epic legal battle against Massey Energy, West Virginia’s most powerful coal company, and eventually uncovered the ruthless shortcuts that put the community’s drinking water at risk.

Desperate brings to life a rich cast of characters in Thompson’s story. It is a masterful work of investigative reporting about greed and denial, a revealing portrait of a town besieged by hardship and heartbreak, and an inspiring account of one tenacious environmental lawyer’s mission to expose the truth and demand justice.

Author Kris Maher joins us in person to discuss his work in conversation with Andrew Conte, Director of the center for Media Innovation at Point Park University. 

Purchase Book Online @ City Of Asylum Bookstore

About the author


Kris Maher has been a staff reporter for The Wall Street Journal since 2005, writing about environmental issues, coal mining, labor, regional economics, and other topics. He has reported on the Flint water crisis, PFAS drinking water contamination, and Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch Mine disaster. More recently, he wrote about the pandemic’s effect on families coping with remote learning. He lives in Pittsburgh with his son and daughter.


Covid-19 policies for indoor programs [at Alphabet City] as of September 1, 2021

  • To keep our audience safe, we will require proof of vaccination (physical card or photo) to attend all events at Alphabet City.
  • There will be special accommodations for children under 12 and people with medical conditions or religious beliefs preventing them from being vaccinated. These audience members will be asked to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the performance start time, or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within 6 hours of the performance start time.
  • All guests will be required to wear masks.
  • Audience size will be limited to 60% total capacity and seats will be set up with moderate social distancing.

Event Details

November 29, 2021 @ 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
40 W. North Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15212

Newsletter Signup