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Mary Taylor Simeti is a New Yorker by birth and a Sicilian by adoption. In 1962 she went to Sicily to work as a volunteer in a community development center run by the writer and social reformer, Danilo Dolci. What was intended to be a one- or two-year interlude in which to decide about graduate school turned out to be a life, first in Palermo, where her husband taught at the University of Palermo, and then on the Simeti family farm near Alcamo.

In addition to helping first her husband and now her daughter run the farm, where they produce wine, olive oil, avocados, citrus fruits and other organically cultivated produce, Simeti has been active in local and school politics and in a feminist press.

She wrote and illustrated a book in Italian for children, Sariddu, which was published in Rome in 1975, and in the early 1980's began writing in earnest and in English. As well as books in both languages, she has written travel and food articles for various American, Italian and British publications, and was a regular contributor to the Sunday travel section of the New York Times and to its Sophisticated Traveler supplement, and to the Arts and Leisure supplement of the London Financial Times.