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JP Clark dies at 86

The late JP Clark

The family, in a statement, said: “The Clark-Fuludu Bekederemo family of Kiagbodo Town, Delta State, wishes to announce that emeritus professor of literature and renowned writer, Prof. John Pepper Clark, has finally dropped his pen in the early hours of, Tuesday, 13 October 2020.

The renowned poet and playwright was born on December 3, 1933, in Kiagbodo, Delta State. Nigeria, to an Ijaw father and Urhobo mother, Clark received his early education at the Native Authority School, Okrika (Ofinibenya-Ama), in Burutu LGA (then Western Ijaw) and the prestigious Government College in Ughelli, and his BA degree in English at the University of Ibadan, where he edited various magazines, including the Beacon and The Horn. Upon graduation from Ibadan in 1960, he worked as an information officer in the Ministry of Information, in the old Western Region of Nigeria, as features editor of the Daily Express, and as a research fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan. He served for several years as a professor of English at the University of Lagos, a position from which he retired in 1980. While at the University of Lagos he was co-editor of the literary magazine Black Orpheus.

In 1982, along with his wife Ebun Odutola (a professor and former director of the Centre for Cultural Studies at the University of Lagos), he founded the PEC Repertory Theatre in Lagos.

A widely travelled man, Clark held visiting professorial appointments at several institutions of higher learning, including Yale and Wesleyan University in the United States.

Presidential candidate of The People Democratic Party (PDP) Atiku Abubakar, mourns the demise of a great poet, on his Twitter handle:  “I received with sadness, news of the passing away of Emeritus Professor of Literature and renowned poet and playwright, Prof. John Pepper Clark. Nigeria has lost a gem and great patriot. May he rest in peace.” He twitted.