By some accounts, Roy Peter Clark is America’s writing coach, devoted to creating a nation of writers. A PhD in medieval literature, he is widely considered the most influential writing teacher in the rough-and-tumble world of newspaper journalism. With a deep background in traditional media, Clark has illuminated the discussion of writing on the internet. He has gained fame by teaching writing to children and has nurtured Pulitzer Prize-winning authors such as Thomas French and Diana K. Sugg. He is a teacher who writes and a writer who teaches.
For more than three decades, Clark has taught writing at the Poynter Institute, a school for journalists in St. Petersburg, Florida, considered among the most prominent such teaching institutions in the world. He graduated from Providence College with a degree in English and earned his PhD from Stony Brook University. In 2017 he received an honorary degree from PC and delivered the commencement address to cap the school’s centennial celebration.
In 1977 Clark was hired by the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times) as one of America’s first writing coaches and with the American Society of Newspaper Editors to improve newspaper writing nationwide. He has taught writer at news organizations, schools, businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies in more than forty states and on five continents.
Among his clients at Poynter: The New York Times, the Washington Post, national Public Radio, USA Today, CNN, Gannett, Microsoft, IBM, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Disney, AAA, the World Bank, and countless colleges and universities. He has appeared on Today and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Clark has authored or edited twenty books about writing, reading, language, and journalism. Humorist Dave Barry has said of him: “Roy Peter Clark knows more about writing than anybody I know who is not currently dead.” He plays keyboard in a rock band. He lives with his family in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he has become famously fond of pelicans.