Frances Mayes (born 1940 in Fitzgerald, Georgia) is an American university professor, poet, essayist, and novelist.
Raised in south central Georgia, Ms. Mayes attended Randolph-Macon Woman’s College in Lynchburg, Virginia and obtained her B.A. from the University of Florida. She earned her M.A. degree from San Francisco State University in 1975 where she eventually became Professor of Creative Writing, directed The Poetry Center and chaired the Department of Creative Writing.
Mayes has authored 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. Written in the same vein as a A Year in Provence by British author Peter Mayle, Frances Mayes’ book was a memoir of her buying, renovating, and living in an abandoned villa in rural Tuscany in Italy. It went to No.1 on the New York Times bestseller list and remained on the list for over two years. In 2003 the motion picture Under the Tuscan Sun was released. Adapted to the screen by director Audrey Wells, the film was loosely based on her book. In 1999, Frances Mayes followed this literary success with another international bestseller titled Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy.
Ms. Mayes first novel, Swan, was published in the fall of 2002. Also a food-and-travel writer, Ms. Mayes is the editor for the 2002 Best American Travel Writing. Now writing full time, she and her poet husband divide their time between homes in San Francisco and Cortona, Italy.