Payne at book signing
Born in Henderson, North Carolina in 1955, David Payne spent his early school years attending E. M. Rollins Elementary and the 8th grade at Pinkston Street.
When he was fourteen, he left to attend the Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. He then attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, graduating with highest honors in Creative Writing in 1977.
Payne’s last appearance in Henderson was six years ago when he gave a reading at the Vance-Granville Community College Civic Center. After the event, he was surrounded by many aspiring writers and graciously spoke with as many as time allowed.
David Payne’s Saturday book signing at Abagayle’s Bookstore was welcoming and warm. One of his childhood teachers, Mrs. Jane Meekins, was among the first to greet him. She was there with three books for him to sign; one for herself and the other two for her daughters.
Several classmates from Payne’s school days and area readers stood in line to have their copies of Back to Wondo Passo signed. Payne amiably chatted with each person who sat down at his desk in a cozy area of Abagayle’s shop.
One of his former classmates exclaimed that his new book was wonderful and it even made her use the dictionary for some words.
“And I have a good vocabulary, too!” she exclaimed.
Home in Henderson asked Payne what he thought it took to inspire children to read. He said that children are curious to do what their parents do. In his and Stacy’s case, they are avid readers and so are their children.
What inspired Payne to write is quite a story. He said that at the age of 12 he had a crush on a girl at school. He went to the girl’s home to pay a visit and was met by the mother, a Mrs. Fannie Gilliam. She invited him in, seated him, set a tea table for the two of them and began to read William Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality”.
David said he was stunned. He said he felt like his hair was on fire and he wanted to run out of the house, but he continued to listen. He says that is the day he “connected” with poetry and what writing could express. He didn’t tell the rest of the story. Perhaps he’s saving that to include in another book.
David Payne lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina with his wife, Stacy, their eight year old daughter, Grace, and their son, six year old Will. Will was scheduled to play in a soccer game later Saturday and Payne was looking forward to being there to cheer him on.
Read about David Payne here.