Chris Tamigi is currently a third-year student in the University of Arkansas’ MFA program in literary translation. He primarily translates contemporary and twentieth-century Italian fiction. He was awarded the 2014 Lily Peter Creative Writing Fellowship in Translation, and his translation of a short story by contemporary Italian author Mauro Covacich (entitled “Impure Acts”) will be appearing in the forthcoming issue of Hayden’s Ferry Review.
Born in the Bronx and raised in the New York area, Chris began studying Italian in middle school inspired in part by his own Italian American heritage. Eager to experience life in another part of the country, he attended college at Tulane University which led to his life-long passion for the city of New Orleans. Chris graduated from Tulane magna cum laude with a B.A. in History and Italian. He also had the opportunity to spend his junior year living in Florence, Italy and studying at an Italian University.
His first real taste of literary translation came when he was writing his honors thesis on the Italian theatre under Fascism for which he translated a few passages from writers such as Luigi Pirandello and F.T. Marinetti.
Like many liberal arts majors who are unsure what direction to take after graduating college, Chris then went to law school. He graduated from Tulane Law School in 2003 where—among other things—he learned about intellectual property law and about Louisiana’s European-inspired civil law system which is unique among the fifty states.
In August 2005, he was among of the thousands of people swept up by the evacuation ahead of Hurricane Katrina. He ended up landing in Washington, DC where he worked for five years in the legal sector primarily on international cases. One case in particular centered around an Italian multinational corporation. Among his other responsibilities, Chris was often called upon to translate legal documents such as contracts, depositions and court transcripts from Italian to English. Thus Chris rediscovered how much he enjoyed the art of translation, and that—combined with his love of literature—led him to change paths and apply to graduate programs in literary translation. Washington is also where he began studying Spanish, attending classes after work and taking advantage of the opportunities to practice the language afforded him in the cosmopolitan city.
Chris is continuing his work with Mauro Covacich and is currently translating his novel A Nome Tuo (“In Your Name”). Among his other favorite Italian writers are Marinetti, Giacomo Leopardi and Natalia Ginzburg.