Frances Mayes

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Frances Mayes
Born (1940-03-23) March 23, 1940 (age 82)
Fitzgerald, Georgia

Frances Mayes is an American novelist. Her 1996 memoir Under the Tuscan Sun. was on the New York Times Best Seller list for over two years and was the basis for the film Under the Tuscan Sun.


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, which was on the New York Times Best Seller list for over two years.[1] The book is a memoir of Mayes buying, renovating, and living in an abandoned villa in rural Cortona in Tuscany, a region of Italy. A film loosely based on the book, Under the Tuscan Sun. was released in 2003, adapted by director Audrey Wells. In 1999, Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy was published, and in 2000, In Tuscany. Mayes's first novel, Swan, was published in 2002. The book Bringing Tuscany Home was published in 2004, a collaborative effort of Mayes and her husband Edward Kleinschmidt Mayes with photographer Steven Rothfeld. Another memoir, Every Day in Tuscany, was released in March 2010.

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 husband, a poet, divide their time between homes in Hillsborough, North Carolina and Cortona, Italy, where she serves as the artistic director of the annual Tuscan Sun Festival.[2]


  • Sunday in Another Country
  • Hours
  • After Such Pleasures
  • The Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing
  • Ex Voto
  • Under the Tuscan Sun
  • Bella Tuscany
  • A Year in the World: Journeys of A Passionate Traveller
  • Every Day in Tuscany
  • In Tuscany
  • Bringing Tuscany Home: Sensuous Style from the Heart of Italy (with Edward Mayes and Steven Rothfeld)
  • The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from My Italian Kitchen
  • Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir
  • Swan
  • The Arts of Fire
  • The Book of Summer
  • Shrines: Images of Italian Worship (with Steven Rothfeld)
  • Women in Sunlight
  • See You in the Piazza


  1. ^ Wilson, Jason. "Under the Crushing Weight of the Tuscan Sun". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2020-11-23.
  2. ^ Cortona Events: Tuscan Sun Festival 2005 Retrieved 2008-10-13.
  3. ^ About Frances Mayes Retrieved 2019-03-12.

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