Alan Payne was born in the Caribbean, and has childhood memories of Grenada, Trinidad and Guyana. He arrived in England by boat in 1959. Since then he has lived mainly in the North – and feels that he is rooted in Yorkshire as well as the Caribbean, although his parents were from Essex. His wife, daughter and son all grew up in Sheffield.
For twenty years he taught in an infant school, where he shared his enthusiasm for poetry, story-telling and drama with the children. Since retiring, he has maintained contact with the school, going in to tell stories and read poetry. He is a member of The Word Train – and enjoys the process of constructive criticism, as well as the experience of reading in public and listening to other voices.
He has had several poems published in The North and in Smiths Knoll. His collection, Exploring the Orinoco was a winner in the 2009 Book & Pamphlet Competition, chosen by Andrew Motion.