Frances Mayes biography

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Frances Mayes
Photo: francesmayesbooks.com

Frances Mayes

Frances Mayes Biography

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.

Frances Mayes's website

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Interview

Frances Mayes discusses Italy and how it differs from the USA, her books, and the terror of giving a speech in Italian when she was made an honorary citizen of Cortona.

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 you mean?
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.

What do you think Americans need to learn from Italians about living?
...

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Books by this Author

Books by Frances Mayes at BookBrowse
See You in the Piazza jacket Women in Sunlight jacket Under Magnolia jacket A Year in the World jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Frances Mayes but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Elizabeth Gilbert

    Elizabeth Gilbert

    Elizabeth Gilbert was born in 1969 in Connecticut.  She grew up on a small family tree farm, with her sister, novelist and historian Catharine Gilbert Murdock (author of Dairy Queen, the first in a series for teens).... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Bella Tuscany

    Try:
    Eat, Pray, Love
    by Elizabeth Gilbert

  • Adam Gopnik

    Adam Gopnik

    Adam Gopnik has been writing for The New Yorker since 1986. During his tenure at the magazine, he has written fiction and humor pieces, book reviews, profiles, reporting pieces, and more than a hundred stories for "The Talk ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Under The Tuscan Sun

    Try:
    Paris To The Moon
    by Adam Gopnik

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