22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Tim Parks

Portrait Tim Parks
© Hartwig Klappert

Tim Parks was born in Manchester in 1954, grew up in London and studied at Cambridge and Harvard. In 1981 he moved to Italy where he has lived ever since, teaching literary translation at the University of Milan.

Parks has published over fifteen novels, numerous essays, short stories and academic texts. His first novel, »Tongues of Flame« (1985), which won the Somerset Maugham Award and Betty Trask Prize, charts a fifteen-year-old’s increasing obsession with a mesmerizing religion. The tight, unpretentious prose offers an exciting contrast to the complex emotionality described. Parks’s novels are characterized by his brilliant ability to connect heterogeneous elements, and portrayal of his characters’ inner torment with almost grotesque humor. Alongside dysfunctional relationships and existential crises, his novels often examine the latent power of destruction lurking behind the glittering facades of political and social institutions, as illustrated in the collection of essays, »Adultery and Other Diversions« (1998). In »Judge Savage« (2003), which once again merges personal narrative with inner monologue, we witness the collapse of the successful Judge David Savage’s world through the protagonist’s own nervous, erratic stream of consciousness. In »Dreams of Rivers and Seas« (2008), Parks writes about the enigmatic life and research of an anthropologist in modern India. Published in 2012, »The Server« is a companion novel to »Teach Us To Sit Still« (2010), a work of non-fiction that describes Parks’ attempt to alleviate chronic pain by way of silent meditation. A Buddhist retreat also serves as the backdrop for »The Server«, where Western individualism and Eastern quietism collide. His most recent novel »Thomas and Mary: a Love Story« (2016) explores the painful erosion of a thirty-year marriage. He has published a number of works of non-fiction, such as a treatise on literary translation, a story about the Medici and their invention of the modern banking system, as well as memoirs on living in Italy, his adopted country. Published in 2014, the collection of essays »Where I’m Reading From« examines the place of literature in the digital age.

Parks has translated numerous Italian writers into English, among them Moravia, Tabucchi, Calasso and Calvino. He has been awarded many prizes for his literary work. He lives in Milan.