John Pepper Clark-Bekederemo was born in the Western Rivers area of Nigeria in Kiagbodo, Warri Province, on April 6, 1935. His father, Clark Fuludu Bekederemo, was a chief. John attended several local schools, the most important being Government College in Ughelli. In 1954, he spent a year as a clerk in a government office before earning entrance to a college in Ibadan that would subsequently become the University of Ibadan. At the university, he rapidly entered the literary milieu and became editor first of Beacon and later of Horn, student magazines that offered early opportunities for publication to several writers who would become the first generation of Nigerian authors. In 1960, he was graduated with a B.A. in English, worked briefly as information officer with the Ministry of Information at Ibadan, and then was appointed an editorial writer for the Express, a Lagos newspaper. It was this position that permitted his appointment as Parvin Fellow at Princeton during the 1962-1963 academic year. For various reasons, this opportunity occasioned mutual dissatisfaction, and for Clark-Bekederemo, it provided the basis for a rather bad-tempered diary of that year, America, Their America (1964). On his return to Nigeria, he spent a year as Research Fellow at Ibadan and began the field research that produced the Ozidi saga. In 1964, he married a Yoruba woman, Ebun Odutola, a talented actress. They had three children: two daughters, Ebiere and Imoyadue, and a son, Ambekederemo. That same year, he joined the faculty of the University of Lagos and in 1972 was appointed professor of English. The years 1975 and 1976 saw him as Distinguished Fellow at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. In 1979, however, he chose to give up an academic career in order to concentrate on writing. He returned to his birthplace at Kiagbodo. He became influential in Nigerian theater, and in 1982, he formed the PEC Repertory in Lagos. After his return to Kiagbodo, he preferred to add his father’s name, Bekederemo, to his own in formal matters, as demonstrated in his collection of plays and poems published in 1991.