novelist, poet, playwright, and critic, born in London and educated at Southend High School. His exuberant early poems exhibit the influence of Robert Graves and de la Mare; but he is best known for his sequence of pastiche biographies of characters from literature, folklore, and history: their mix of poetic language, learning, and bawdy humour has led to comparisons with Rabelais. The first, Falstaff (1976), was followed by other idiosyncratic portraits, including Merlin (1978), Faust (1980), The Life and Death of My Lord Gilles de Rais (1990), and Mrs Shakespeare (1993), among others. Nye has also written radio and stage plays. His short stories were collected as Tales I Told My Mother (1969) and The Facts of Life (1983). Among his volumes of poems are Collected Poems (1998) and The Rain and the Glass (2005).