Frances Mayes has always adored houses, and when she saw Bramasole, a neglected, 200-year-old Tuscan farmhouse nestled in five overgrown acres, it was love at first sight. Out of that instant infatuation has come six marvelous, and hugely popular, books. The #1 bestseller Under the Tuscan Sun remained on The New York Times bestseller list for two and a half years and re-entered the list again in early 2015 at #5 in ebooks and #10 in combined ebooks and print. In 2003, Under the Tuscan Sun was made into a popular film starring Diane Lane. September 2016 will mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of Under the Tuscan Sun. The other international best sellers are: Bella Tuscany and Every Day in Tuscany, the last in her Tuscan trilogy. She has published two photo-texts, In Tuscany, a collaborative photo-textbook with her husband, the poet Edward Mayes and photographer Bob Krist, and Bringing Tuscany Home: Sensuous Style from the Heart of Italy, another collaborative book with Edward Mayes and photographer Steven Rothfeld. All her highly personal books are about taking chances, living in Italy, loving and renovating an old Italian villa, the pleasures of food, books, wine, gardens, and the “voluptuousness of Italian life.” Her books are translated into more than fifty languages.
Recent projects include Frances Mayes’s The Passionate Traveler Journal, a blank book with quotes, and The Tuscan Sun Cookbook: Recipes from My Italian Kitchen, coauthored with Edward Mayes, and with photographs by Steven Rothfeld. In 2019 Forbes called The Tuscan Sun Cookbook one of the "Best Italian Cookbooks Of All Time."
Her first novel, Swan, a family saga and mystery, returned Mayes to her childhood home of Georgia. She is the author of the travel memoir, A Year in the World: Journeys of A Passionate Traveller, which immediately debuted as a New York Times bestseller. Working again with photographer Steven Rothfeld, she also published Shrines: Images of Italian Worship.
A widely published poet and essayist, Frances Mayes has written numerous books of poetry, including Sunday in Another Country, After Such Pleasures, The Arts of Fire, Hours, The Book of Summer, and Ex Voto. Her text, The Discovery of Poetry: A Field Guide to Reading and Writing Poems, is widely used in college poetry classes.
Her widely acclaimed New York Times bestseller Under Magnolia, is a memoir about growing up in the South. Mayes’ most recent novel is Women in Sunlight. Her new book is about travel in Italy titled See You in the Piazza: Places to Discover in Italy (March 12, 2019). She is also working on a book titled Frances Mayes Always Italy: An Illustrated Grand Tour for National Geographic (Spring, 2020).
Formerly a professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University, where she directed The Poetry Center and chaired the Department of Creative Writing. Mayes now devotes herself full time to writing, and, currently, to another renovation of Bramasole. She and her husband divide their time between North Carolina and Tuscany.
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Photo Will Garin