Basil Payne was born in Dublin on June 23, 1923, and died on January 6, 2012. Until 1971 he worked as a health insurance administator at senior management level, then in that year he become a full time writer and lecturer. He spent several years as a lecturer in English literature at colleges in the USA, including Rutgers University and the University of California. He lives in Dublin and has seven children.
In 1964 Basil Payne won a Guinness International poetry prize, followed by another Guinness International prize in 1966. He received the Governor's Special Citation for unique contribution to the Arts in New Jersey, USA, 1975.
In the 1960's, Basil Payne frequently wrote theatre reviews and second leaders (editorials) for The Irish Times. In the early 1970's he was the film reviewer for RTE Radio.
As much at ease with the spoken word as with the written text, he was acclaimed for his live presentations, among others the solo presentation Be Free With Me, premiered at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin in 1984, and the solo recital Songs of Love, premiered at the National Concert Hall, Dublin, 1989.
His lecturing career suffered following the publication in 1979 of the Dictionary of Irish Literature (ed. Robert Hogan, see literary assassination). He received several Irish Arts Council bursaries in the 1980's, but this lifeline was then cut, at a time when lesser poets were awarded lifetime grants as members of the Aosdána.
Two important works are at present available only through this site.