J.P. Clark

Legendary Nigerian Poet, Professor, and Playwright J.P. Clark, full name John Pepper Clark-Bekederemo, passed away in Nigeria on October 13, 2020.

J.P. Clark was born in Kiagbodo town, Delta State of Nigeria on April 6, 1985.  After his primary and secondary education, he went to the University of Ibadan where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English in 1960. He kicked off his literary career at the university, editing a number of campus magazines like The Beacon and The Horn.

After he left Ibadan, Clark worked as an information officer in the Ministry of Information, old Western Region of Nigeria; as features editor of Daily Express, and later as a research fellow at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ibadan. For several years he worked as a professor of English at the University of Lagos until he retired in 1980. While at that university, he co-edited the Black Orpheus magazine.

His debut poetry collection Poems (1961) was followed by A Reed in the Tide (1965), Casualties: Poems 1966-68 (1970), A Decade of Tongues (1981), State of the Union (1981), and Mandela and Other Poems (1988). His plays included: The Raft (1964), Ozidi (1966) and The Boat (1981).

A statement from the family read: “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 today, Tuesday, 13 October 2020. Prof J. P. Clark has paddled on to the great beyond in comfort of his wife, children and siblings, around him. The family appreciates your prayers at this time. Other details will be announced later by the family.”

The writing community reacted to the death of the new literary ancestor with tributes on a life well lived. Here are few;

Wow, JP Pepper Clark has transitioned. Another great has left us.

Nnedi Okorafor

Today, the reunion of JP Clark and Chinua Achebe, on the other side of eternity. RIP.

Tolu Ogunlesi

“The Chair”
Is it the seat that soils A person who sits on it;
Or does it just bring out
The stool in the one a group installs? – JP Clark 1935-2020

Victor Ehikhamenor

Remembering JP Clark
“Night Rain” “

What time of night it is
I do not know
Except that like some fish
Doped out of the deep
I have bobbed up belly wise…
So let us roll over our back…
We will settle to sleep of the innocent and free.”

RIP great poet, dramatist, teacher

Dr Joyce Nyairo

And JP Clark undertakes a forever journey on The Raft. Sleep well. Great man.

Jumoke Verissimo

J.P. Clark was a guiding light & inspiration to the Lagos International Poetry Festival, since the first edition, dedicated to him. As he joins the ancestors, we celebrate the legacy of a truly great man. Travel well poet, teacher, mentor. Thank you for everything.

Lagos Poetry Festival

We are sad to hear that J.P Clark-Bekederemo, one of Nigeria’s foremost poets, has joined the ancestors. Our thoughts are with his loved ones. The magic of his words and his legacy live on.

Ake Festival