Tag Archives: Marcello Di Cintio

A-R International … Self-Isolating Authors Edition: Part 2

This is the second part of a series in which Authors who I’ve promoted in the Authors-Readers International series tell Readers what they’ve been doing during these past few months of self-isolating … See the introduction to Part 1 for a further explanation. (All links on the authors’ names will take you to their A-RI promotion.)

Fred Stenson

Pincher Creek, Alberta, is my home since last summer, as I believe you know. The advantage is that Pincher in Iso is quite a bit like Pincher not in Iso. Have to watch my step only at the post office and Co-op. And strictly avoid Walmart. Two hour walks are frequent—to offset my beer consumption.

Working on a film with Tom Radford. Great fun.


Marcello Di Cintio

I’ve been reasonably busy during the pandemic. My book about the secret lives of taxi drivers has been delayed due to all of this chaos, but this has given me a chance to add pandemic-related material to the manuscript. I also taught an online class on travel writing at Pandemic University, and one on nonfiction for the Alexandra Writers Centre. I landed a short piece about COVID brides-to-be on the CBC Calgary website and had a personal essay published on May 18th in the CBC Books’ “Transmission” series. All the while, I’ve been pitching COVID-related stories to various magazines. I am also working on a profile for a US-based medical cannabis journal, and a feature story about sex work in Calgary.


Lori Hahnel

I have a new short story collection coming out this fall with Enfield & Wizenty. The book is called Vermin: Stories, and expected pub date at this point is Oct. 22. Here’s a link to the publisher’s page.

I also finally got a new headshot! (credit Jodi O Photography)

Lori Hahnel continues to add posts to her blog and is going to be offering a webinar on writing in June. See her blog for details. 


Don Gillmor

I wish I could say I’ve been spending my covid time learning a new language, or taking piano lessons, or bullfighting classes online. I have finished a draft of a novel though, and am adapting to online yoga classes. Though I was self-isolating more before the pandemic, when everyone left the house in the morning. Now all four of us are here all day, every day. So an adjustment. Playing my monthly poker game via Zoom has been an adjustment as well. And perhaps it’s a good thing that this is the coldest spring in memory (it snowed yesterday) as fewer people are tempted to go out. But it would be nice to at least have the back yard as an option. And the snow may be keeping the murder hornets at bay.


Felicity Harley

Again thanks for doing this for us – it is so incredibly generous of you.  As for me I’m editing the next two books in my series – Rebirth and Tesla’s Dream, as you know, and hoping to get that done by the fall. The coronavirus has slowed down the process since I have my daughters and granddaughters at home, and there are lots of interruptions. However I’m finding bits and pieces of time to do my work and am also okay with giving some of it up since this is a unique and precious time to be with my granddaughters (note: granddaughters) that I won’t have again. (One of Felicity’s granddaughters even wrote me a fan letter!)

I haven’t written anything on the virus but in my books I predict pandemics as part of the effects of climate change. There is a typical tension between the needs of businesses to make money and the working poor who facilitate that.  It’s never been very different; those with less resources have always been sacrificed on the altars of the rich.


Bob Stallworthy

Again, thank you for all you are doing to promote Canadian/Alberta authors. It is a huge amount of work. I do appreciate all you’ve done to promote my books.

What have I been doing during the pandemic?

My book, Impact Statement, has been published and is now available from Alpine Book Peddlers in Canmore as well as the independent bookstores, Pages, ShelfLife and Owl’s Nest in Calgary. I believe it will be available through Amazon and Indigo as well, but I haven’t any idea just when that will happen.

Frontenac House and I are talking about having some kind of internet launch. No date or time as yet. It may be a ZOOM event, but that hasn’t been settled yet either. Will let you know when all is sorted out. Here’s a link to the book on the publisher’s site.

Of course, I am still a full-time care giver for my wife, Marilyn. Things are going as well as they can, but some of the work has to be done carefully.

As well, I am now into the gardening season. Trying to get my yards and flowerbeds into shape.


Darlene Foster

Like me, Canadian author Darlene Foster was in her winter home (Spain) when the pandemic disrupted the world, and she has also not been able to travel home to Canada for the summer months.

During the very strict lockdown in Spain, I have kept busy reading, writing, blogging, reviewing, critiquing, editing, and supporting other writers on-line. I’ve finally had time to reduce my towering TBR pile and have read some classics I’ve wanted to read for a long time. One of the best books I´ve read during lockdown was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. Here is my review on Goodreads.

I’m helping other writers with short stories and novels they’re working on and helping promote others who are already published. It’s always important as a writing community to support each other, but especially now during the global pandemic and resulting isolation. Thankfully, technology has kept me in touch with my family, friends and writing community. I hosted a ZOOM meeting for 14 English-speaking writers here in Spain last week and meet via ZOOM with my Canadian critique group on a regular basis. I individually chat with writers on Skype and FaceTime so I have not felt lonely at all. In fact, I´m busier than ever and working on Amanda in France, the ninth book in my Amanda Travels series, writing short stories, and even tried my hand at writing poetry. I was delighted to learn that some parents have been using my books as part of homeschooling. Life is whatever we make it and mine is good!

You can see what I´m up to by following my blog or checking out my website. Follow me on Facebook or Twitter. I would love to hear from you.

Stay safe and well. We´ve got this!


Darcie Friesen Hossack

A bear sat on my deck. No photographic proof of that other than the calling card she left. I wrote a haiku, but it had one too many syllables. So it’s not a haiku at all. I also adopted my 21 year old nephew, who had a liver transplant when he was 16. He’s much safer here than he would be in Calgary, and he wants to apprentice with Dean as a cook. When it’s safe to go back into the kitchen.

I think of you on Bequia so often, knowing you’ve made the best decision for yourself. Traveling home, when you have a home … and a moat, and cats and all your books. I’m glad you’re there, just like I’m glad we’re pocketed away here in Jasper National Park, in the Canadian Rockies. Although, restaurants are re-opening, and guests will be returning soon. To a different experience, but they’re coming, and I’m worried. Of course.

I was worried, at first, that the gravity of a pandemic would pull all creativity to itself and leave me sitting in the dark. About a week in, however, Betty Jane Hegerat (an A-RI-promoted Author), one of my favourite writers and people, posted an offer of Blue Pencil Sessions: up to eight pages, for a handful of writers who might need a fresh look at a work in progress. I gratefully put up my hand and sent her the synopsis of the novel I’m working on. Anyone who knows Betty Jane knows she is the kind of person, writer, teacher who brings out the best in others. She asked for the first chapter after that, and now that she’s reading the sixth, I find myself not only picking up my pace to keep ahead of her (or is it that she’s generating a wave?), but learning to trust myself and the characters I’ve known, now, for so long. I’ve also taken on some web and business writing for a local mountain cabin resort, helping them to communicate with their staff and guests in these far too interesting times.

As well as the bear, I also have four squirrels and a chipmunk who visit my deck, and have been visited by a pair of bluejays (I thought these parts, like where I’ve lived in BC, would only have the blue-black Stellar’s Jays), assorted woodpeckers, thrush, cheeky little nuthatches and chickadees, and a flock of Juncos. Now that the snow is finally gone, my hiking boots have replaced my winter boots, and my camera and I are going out into the park, looking for and finding spring colours. Spring comes later here than I’m used to, but it’s so ridiculously beautiful that it doesn’t really matter.


A-R International: Marcello Di Cintio

Marcello Di Cintio
Authors-Readers International

Photo credit: Monique de St. Croix

I was born in Calgary and studied Microbiology and English at the University of Calgary. I was also a member of the university wrestling team. I graduated in 1997 with a pair of degrees (a BA and BSc).

Later that year, I traveled to West Africa with a volunteer organization and taught biology in a Ghanaian village for three months. When my volunteer placement was complete, I wandered through western and northern Africa for nine months. My stories from Africa resulted in my first book, Harmattan: Wind Across West Africa. This won the Henry Kriesel Award for Best First Book.

In December 1999, hot with millennium-fever, I traveled to Jerusalem to watch the clock turn on 2000. I wandered throughout Israel and Egypt before returning to Calgary to begin a career as a freelance writer. Since then, I’ve published articles in numerous magazines and literary journals including Afar, The Walrus, EnRoute, Geist and Reader’s Digest Canada.

I traveled to Iran in the summer of 2003 seeking the connection between Persian poets and traditional wrestlers. This trip, and a subsequent return to the country the following year, yielded the stories that make up my travel memoir Poets and Pahlevans: A Journey Into the Heart of Iran. Knopf Canada published Poets and Pahlevans in 2006. The book won the Wilfred Eggleston Prize for Best Nonfiction at the Alberta Book Awards and was nominated for the Edna Staebler Award.

My last project was a book about walls, fences and other ‘hard’ barriers – and the people who live in their shadows – called Walls; Travels Along the Barricades. For this book, I visited walls and fences in Algeria, Morocco, the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, Israel, Palestine, India, Cyprus, Montreal, Belfast and along the US-Mexico border. Walls won the 2013 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing, among a few other awards, and has been published in Canada (both in English and French), the US, the UK and Bulgaria.

My newest book is called Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in the Present Tense. The book reveals life in contemporary Palestine as seen through the lens of the region’s rich literary culture.

I live in Calgary with my beautiful wife and son, Amedeo.


I first became aware of Marcello Di Cintio’s writing after I had already left Calgary (the first time) to live full time on Bequia. One connection with the city I could not give up was the local food magazine, The City Palate, published by Gail Norton (owner of the bookstore, The Cookbook Company) and edited by longtime restaurant reviewer, Kathy Richardier. They mailed a subscription of the magazine to me and I’ve kept all those copies over the past 25 years. Marcello Di Cintio had contributed a number of travel pieces that involved food, and I remember being quite taken by his writing. (While preparing to write this part of the promotion, I was about to haul all my copies of the Palate off the shelves to flip through them and look for any articles written by Marcello, but then realized I had a copy of the book The Best of City Palate: 10 years of good eats and good reads (by Gail Norton and Kathy Richardier), and discovered it contained six of these articles!) Anyway, long preamble to explain that I was aware of Marcello’s writing long before I moved back to Calgary and was working to promote authors. When I did finally meet Marcello in person, it was because he was the writer-in-residence at the University of Calgary.  At the same time, Betty Jane Hegerat (who I promoted here previously on A-RI) was serving as the writer-in-residence at the Calgary Public Library. An event was organized and held at Memorial Park Library at which both WIRs were invited to speak about what they had been doing, working on, and how they had been consulting other writers on their work. Over the few years after, while I was still living in Calgary, I promoted Marcello Di Cintio’s (then) new book Walls, and invited him to speak at a literary salon I had organized, named “In the Shadow of the Wall,” that featured four previous University of Calgary writers-in-residence, part of the Calgary Distinguished Writers Program – I had been serving on their selection board. (The chapbook for this salon is the one in the top right corner in the photo.)

Since that time I have also featured Marcello Di Cintio on my blog Reading Recommendations (see link below), and I’ve continued to read his writing, which just keeps getting better! His latest book, Pay No Heed to the Rockets, just proves he is a writer who deserves to reach more of an international readership, not only as his subject matter is international in scope, but also because his writing is very good indeed!

Pay No Heed to the Rockets

Celebrated author Marcello Di Cintio first visited Palestine in 1999. Like most outsiders, the Palestinian narrative that he knew had been simplified by a seemingly unending struggle, a near-Sisyphean curse of stories of oppression, exile and occupation told over and over again.

In Pay No Heed to the Rockets, Di Cintio reveals a more complex story: the Palestinian experience as seen through the lens of authors, books, and literary culture. Using the form of a political-literary travelogue, he explores what literature means to modern Palestinians and how Palestinians make sense of the conflict between a rich imaginative life and the daily tedium and violence of survival.

Di Cintio begins his journey on the Allenby Bridge that links Jordan to Palestine. He visits the towns and villages of the West Bank, passes into Jerusalem, and then travels through Israel before crossing into Gaza. En route, he meets with poets, authors, librarians, and booksellers. He begins to see Palestine through their eyes, through the stories of their stories.

Following the lives of past literary giants like Mahmoud Darwish and Ghassan Kanafani and the contemporary authors whom they continue to inspire, Di Cintio travels through the rich cultural and literary heritage of Palestine. It’s there that he uncovers a humanity, and a beauty, often unnoticed by news media. At the seventieth anniversary of the Nakba, the “catastrophe” of the Arab-Israeli War, Pay No Heed to the Rockets tells a fresh story about Palestine, one that begins with art rather than war.

Published by Goose Lane Editions (Canada), Saqi Books (UK) and from Counterpoint Books (US).

What Marcello Di Cintio is working on now: “I am currently working on the second draft of a manuscript about the “secret” lives of Canadian taxi drivers. I spent about a year traveling around the country meeting with cabbies and getting to know their back stories. The book is still untitled – though I am open to suggestions – and is scheduled for publication by Biblioasis in Fall 2020.”

For more information about Marcello Di Cintio, his writing and books, please see his website.

Marcello Di Cintio has previously been promoted on my Reading Recommendations blog in Jan. 2015.

Blog posts, articles, videos, and information of note … The Weekly Roundup

Alberta (Calgary) author Marcello Di Cintio
In lieu of an acceptance speech

Calgary editor and author Carrie Mumford
How Much Does Editing Cost?

Alberta (Edmonton) author Thomas Wharton
Filling Plotholes

For Writers
From Rachel Gardner: 5 Things Writers Should Know Right Now
From Nathan Bransford: Dialogue Only Has To Be True to the World of Your Novel
From GalleyCat: Free Books Recommended By Ernest Hemingway Himself
From GalleyCat: Joss Whedon: “What you cut out becomes part of the story you tell”
From Writer Unboxed: What to Write in the “Bio” Section of Your Query Letter by Chuck Sambuchino

On Publishing
From The Scholarly Kitchen: The Personality of a Publisher by Joseph Esposito
From The Shatzkin Files: Two thoughts: what was one book business may divide by format and backlist may be the neglected marketing opportunity (I’ve been harping on forever about the importance of backlist!!)

On Conferences and Conventions
I attended only one BEA (although it was still called ABA at the time) in 1994 in Los Angeles and Stephen King walked past me in the convention hallway. That was cool! But at the time, I was much more excited to speak with Nick Bantock and Rick Steves, because I was their sales rep!
From terribleminds: Ten Things I Learned At BEA 2013

From Seth Godin’s Blog
On teaching people a lesson

On Promotion
From Jeff Bullas: 50 Ways to Promote and Market your Blog Posts
From GalleyCat: Penguin Book Truck To Travel Country (This is what I wanted to do in Calgary during the summer months – but promoting Alberta Authors!!!)

On Reading
From RealSimple: Your Ultimate Summer Reading List

Thanks to Peggy Ann’s Blog for posting The Curious Evolution of the Typewriter, in Pictures link on her weekly Monday’s Muddle!

And a few videos of Bequia shot by a reader of Island in the Clouds who made my day by posting wonderful comments about my novel on my blog. (Scroll down to the comments at bottom of page.)
Thank you, Jay!!
Bequia Island – video taken on a beautiful morning (that’s the Frangipani Hotel, the Whaleboner next to it, and the harbour …)
“Crazy” boat ride from Bequia to Canuoun – Hang on to your hat!
Flight on 8 seat plane – Canuoun to St. Vincent