Alumni CLASnotes Spring 2006
In This Issue:


Frances Mayes (B.A., English, 1962)

Frances Mayes
Frances Mayes
Before delighting audiences with her bestselling memoir turned hit film Under the Tuscan Sun, famed author Frances Mayes basked in Florida’s sunshine as an undergraduate in UF’s Department of English. Just back in the States after spending three years abroad doing research for her newly released novel, A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveler, Alumni CLASnotes caught up with this globetrotter between her many adventures.

ACn: How many countries and continents have you visited so far and how many stamps are in your passport?

FM: My passport does not have enough stamps! Although I’ve traveled all over the Western Hemisphere, the East is still out in front of me. My next great trip will be to India. Also, I’ve never been to Egypt, and how can you be a traveler and not have seen Egypt?

ACn: What’s the one thing you take with you on all of your adventures?

FM: I always take a notebook. Writing is my pleasure and so intensifies my travels.

ACn: Describe your luggage.

FM: My luggage is plain black, enlivened by bunches of colored ribbons to help me identify it among all the other blacks.

ACn: What’s the one phrase you need to know in any language?

FM: “Thank you”—Grazie, merci, etc.

ACn: What’s the one place you think everyone should see before they die?

FM: Depends on the person. But I think experiencing the Italian way of life opens anyone’s eyes to the fascination of how one can live.

ACn: Where can you get a great international experience on a tight budget?

FM: Anywhere. If your eyes are wide open, a trip to the Keys or to Mobile or to Paris or Warsaw will enter your psyche and begin to change you.

ACn: How did the liberal arts education you received at the University of Florida prepare you for this lifestyle?

FM: At the University of Florida, I was passionately interested in literature and had several excellent professors. Don’t look up my GPA—I only studied the courses I liked! My best times were in the library. I took stacks of books into the music listening cubicles and read and reveled in chamber music.

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