Pierre Stephen Robert Payne was an English-born author, known principally for works of biography and history, although he also wrote novels, poetry, magazine articles and many other works. After working in Singapore and China, he moved to the United States in 1946 and became a professor of English literature. From 1954 onwards he lived as a writer in New York.
A prolific author, Payne is best known for his biographies of prominent historical figures, such as Leonardo, Hitler, Stalin, Marx, Lenin, Mao Zedong and Gandhi, several of which were selected for Book of the Month Club. These works are praised for their readability and literary power, although not always for their historical rigour.