After being struck by a drunk driver in 1994 and left unable to walk for nearly a year, Holly Payne received a letter from the driver asking for forgiveness. Rather than write a letter, she wrote him the book, Kingdom of Simplicity, with the hope that he will one day be able to forgive himself.
Payne is an internationally published novelist in 10 countries whose work has been translated into 8 languages. Dutton/Plume (Penguin) published her first two books, The Sound of Blue and The Virgin's Knot, her debut novel selected as a Discover Great New Writers selection and Borders Original Voices book, and was alsonominated for the First Novelist Award at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her third book, Kingdom of Simplicity, won First Place for the Benjamin Franklin Awards for best first book from a new press and was named the Grand Prize Winner for the 2011 Writers Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Published in the Netherlands, Taiwan and soon China, Kingdom of Simplicity was recenty listed as mandatory reading for high school students in Ghent, Belgium, where it was also nominated for a National Book Award; the winner will be announced in 2013.
A native of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Payne currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her young daughter and husband. An editor, former screenwriter and private writing coach, Payne spent 12 years teaching screenwriting and story development first at the Academy of Art University and later at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. She has taught a novel writing course most recently for Stanford's On-Line Writers Studio.
She received a BA in journalism from the University of Richmond and a MFA from the Master of Professional Writing Program at USC where she produced her first film. She has lived and worked in London, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Hungary, Turkey, Croatia and continues to travel in search of stories that illuminate the endangered people and places of the world. An avid bicyclist and hiker, she calls the Rocky Mountains of Crested Butte, Colorado her second home and leads a writing retreat there each summer. In 2009, the University of Richmond honored her with a Distinguished Alumni Award. She has recently finished a book set in the 13th century involving Rumi and is currently at work on a new book of modern fiction. She is a contributor to Tin House's Open Bar and actively serves the literary community as a volunteer producer for Litquake, San Francisco's literary festival.