Dr. Payne's background is in East Asian Studies, with a particular focus on cultural production from the People's Republic of China (PRC), Taiwan, and Hong Kong. He received his BA in History/East Asian Studies from Saint Mary's University in Halifax, then spent the next two years living and studying in Taiwan. In 2002, he completed an MA in East Asian Studies at McGill University, and then spent the next four years living, studying and working in East Asia, mostly in Seoul, South Korea, as well as some time spent in southern China near Macau and Hong Kong.
In 2010, Dr. Payne completed a PhD at SOAS, University of London, and shortly thereafter was appointed to the Academy of East Asian Studies at Sungkyunkwan University (Seoul, South Korea). In the autumn of 2013, he joined The University of Manchester where he spent six years, the last three as Programme Director (Head of Department). He has published articles in such prestigious journals as Modern Chinese Literature and Culture and Positions: Asia Critique. Together with his frequent co-translator, he has three published translations, two novels by Mai Jia (published by Penguin) and one novel by Jiang Zilong (published by ACA). Two further translations are forthcoming, one by Jia Pingwa and one by Li Juan (both with ACA and translated solely by Dr. Payne).