Frances Mayes is an American university professor, poet, memoirist, essayist, and novelist.
Born and raised in Fitzgerald, Georgia, Mayes attended Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Lynchburg, Virginia, and obtained her BA from the University of Florida. In 1975 she earned her MA from San Francisco State University, where she eventually became Professor of Creative Writing, director of The Poetry Center, and chair of the Department of Creative Writing.
Mayes has published several works of poetry: Climbing Aconcagua (1977), Sunday in Another Country (1977), After Such Pleasures (1979), The Arts of Fire (1982), Hours (1984), and Ex Voto (1995). In 1996 she published the book Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy. The book is a memoir of Mayes buying, renovating, and living in an abandoned villa in rural Cortona in Tuscany, a region of Italy. It went to Number One on the New York Times Best Seller list and remained on the list for over two years. In 2003 the film Under the Tuscan Sun was released. Adapted to the screen by director Audrey Wells, the movie was loosely based on Mayes's book. In 1999, Mayes followed this literary success with another international bestseller, Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy, and in 2000 with In Tuscany. Mayes's first novel, Swan, was published in 2002. With photographer Steven Rothfeld and her husband Edward Kleinschmidt Mayes, she published the phototext Bringing Tuscany Home in 2004.
Also a food-and-travel writer, Mayes is the editor of The Best American Travel Writing 2002 and the author of A Year in the World: Journeys of A Passionate Traveller (2006), narratives of her and her husband's travels in Greece, Turkey, Spain, Morocco and other countries.
Now writing full time, she and her poet husband divide their time between homes in Hillsborough, North Carolina and Cortona, Italy, where she serves as the artist director of the annual Tuscan Sun Festival. A new memoir "Every Day in Tuscany" was released in March, 2010.
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