Roy Peter Clark was born in 1948 in New York City and raised on Long Island. He graduated from Providence College in Rhode Island with a degree in English and earned a PhD from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He was hired by St. Petersburg Times in 1977 to become a writing coach. He worked with the American Society of Newspaper Editors to improve newspaper writing nationwide. He was soon elected a distinguished service member which was a rare honor for a journalist who has never edited a newspaper. He has nurtured Pulitzer Prize winning writers such as Thomas French and Diana Sugg. He has worked full-time at The Poynter Institute starting in 1979 as director of the writing center, dean of the faculty, senior scholar and vice president. He has authored or edited several books on journalism and writing such as: Free to Write: A Journalist Teaches Young Writers; Coaching Writers: Editors and Reporters Working Together Across Media Platforms and Glamour of Grammar.