Marcello Di Cintio was born in Calgary and studied Microbiology and English at the University of Calgary. He was also a member of the U of C wrestling team. He graduated in 1997 with a pair of degrees (BA and BSc) and two cauliflower ears.
Later that year, Di Cintio travelled to West Africa with a volunteer organization, Canadian Crossroads International, and taught biology in a Ghanian village for three months. When his volunteer placement was complete, he travelled through western and northern Africa for nine months. Di Cintio's time amid the heat and colour of Africa led to a love affair with travel and resulted in his first book, Harmattan: Wind Across West Africa. Harmattan won the Henry Kriesel Award for Best First Book at the Alberta Book Awards.
Since then, he has published articles in numerous magazines and literary journals including The Walrus, EnRoute, Geist, and The Globe and Mail. His writing has received several honours including the 2002 Maclean-Hunter Endowment Prize for Creative Nonfiction, the Dave Greber Freeland Writers Award, and a number of Western and National Magazine Award nominations.
Di Cintio travelled to Iran in 2003-2004 to discover the connection between Persian poets and traditional wrestlers. The resulting book, Poets and Pahlevans: A Journey Into the Heart of Iran, was published in 2006. Poets won the Wilfred Eggleston Prize for Best Nonfiction and was shortlisted for the Edna Staebler Award.
In 2012 Goose Lane Editions published Walls: Travels Along the Barricades, in which Di Cintio travels to the world’s most disputed edges to meet the people who live alongside the razor wire and to answer the question: what does it mean to live against the walls?