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.
Her works include Climbing Aconcagua (1977), Sunday in Another Country (1977), After Such Pleasures (1979), and Ex Voto (1995). In addition to her Tuscany memoirs, Under the Tuscan Sun and Bella Tuscany, she has authored the illustrated books In Tuscany and Bringing Tuscany Home; Swan, a novel and The Discovery of Poetry, a text for readers. 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.
This biography was last updated on 08/08/2015.
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An Interview with Frances Mayes
You say in your book that when you wrote the last line of Under
the Tuscan Sun, you wrote the first line of Bella Tuscany. What do
When I finished Under the Tuscan Sun I was in the beginning of my life in Italy. When I ended that book, I wanted to continue to write about the place--such a powerful landscape and I was just falling under its spell. I sensed early that Italy is endless; five years later, I'm still at the beginning.
You often say how you feel more at home in Italy than anywhere else. Why is that?
I thought I was strange to feel this way. Since I've met so many people who read Under the Tuscan Sun, I've found out that lots of people feel this way. It's complicated but feels so very easy. The warmth of the people, the human scale of the towns, the robust food, yes, but I've begun to think, too, that it's the natural connection with art, the natural exposure to beauty on a day-to-day basis. This concept is a big focus of Bella Tuscany. We all know the Italians have more fun. This makes us feel at home, or rather returned to a sense of play, which we may not have experienced so fully since childhood.
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