Born in Fitzgerald, Georgia, and raised in south central 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. The book is a memoir of Mayes buying, renovating, and living in an abandoned villa in rural Cortona in Tuscany, a region of Italy. It went to Number One on the New York Times Best Seller list and remained on the list for over two years. In 2003 the film Under the Tuscan Sun was released. Adapted to the screen by director Audrey Wells, the movie was loosely based on Mayes's book. In 1999, Mayes followed this literary success with another international bestseller, Bella Tuscany: The Sweet Life in Italy, and in 2000 with In Tuscany. Mayes's first novel, Swan, was published in 2002.
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), tales of her and her husband's travels.
Are There Still Bargains under the Tuscan Sun? (1) Buying Abroad (2) What Will the New Movie of Frances Mayes' Best Seller Mean for Brits Seeking a Tuscany Home?
Mar 28, 2004; Byline: LEE MARSHALL How important is the Mayes effect in Tuscany? Has it run its course? First published in 1996 , Frances...
Chow, bella! Frances Mayes eats her way through travels, dishing up prose that's sometimes half-baked.(Spotlight)
Mar 17, 2006; Byline: Jenny Shank, Special to the News If you've ever dreamed of hiking to the Incan ruins of Machu Picchu, embarking on safari...