Last Tuesday, April 18, 2023, the Clark family and the Department of English at the University of Lagos presented a new book titled “Connecting the Local and the Global Across Literary Genres: Emerging Perspectives on J.P. Clark and His Works.”
The book was presented at the Rahaman Adisa Bello Lecture Theatre and chronicles the life and times of Nigeria’s foremost literary icon, Professor Emeritus John Pepper Clark. The book is edited by Professors Hope Eghagha and Solomon Azumutana, both from the University of Lagos, and published by Mosuro Publishers in 2022.
The book contains 15 chapters of critical essays by erudite scholars such as Lilly Chimuanya, Olufemi Adeosun, Destiny Idegbekwe, Promise Adiele, Omolara Owoeye, Peter Omoko, Rosetta Nnsi, and Solomon Azumurana.
The contributors discuss various works by J.P. Clark, including “The Wives’ Revolt,” “Ozidi,” “All for Oil,” “Song of a Goat,” “Casualties,” “Masquerade,” “Streamside Exchange,” “Night Rain,” and “Home from Hiroshima.” Additionally, there are exploratory essays on other prolific writers such as Ahmed Yerima and Femi Osofisan.
The event was well-attended by members of the academia, communication executives, representatives of Government College, Ugheli, and a host of others. The Chief Host, Vice Chancellor Prof. Folasade Tolulope Ogunsola, was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development Services), Prof. Victoria Atsenuwa Ayodele, Dean, Department of English, Prof Funke Adeboye, Prof. Yemi Akinyele, Arts curator and consultant, Moses Ohiomokhare, widow of the late sage, Prof. Ebun Clark, their son, Elaye, and daughter, Ema Clark.
The book reviewer, Prof. Patrick Oloko, recalled his last encounter with the late sage, saying that Clark deserved more than just “thinking about” and needed action. The undergraduate level course is going through the process of approval for literature for the English Department, and the book being presented is part of the action being taken. The reviewer noted that 11 of the 15 chapters of the book bring new conversations that are centered around specific works of the famous author. The other four chapters point to new directions that follow up on the volume’s chart.
Speaking on behalf of the editors, Prof. Hope Eghagha said that the book is part of a broader project to bring Clark in a broader view after he joined the ancestral realm. The editors remind us that writers attain an enduring immortality when they are no longer alive. Part of the enduring value of this book lies in that very pragmatic word, ’emerging,’ which is somewhere in the book’s rather long title.