Tullio Pironti was raised in central Naples, in a family of booksellers. Surviving the Allied bombing of World War II, in his teens he became a city middleweight champion, and twice competed as a finalist for the Italian national team. After quitting the ring, he began to publish privately out of a small shop, achieving international success in the early 1980s with Giuseppe Marrazzo's Camorrista, an investigation into Neapolitan organized crime, later made into a renowned movie starring Ben Gazzara. His press has been the first Italian house to publish Raymond Carver, Don DeLillo, and Naguib Mahfuz, among others. His memoir Books and Rough Business (2008) received over a hundred notices across Italy, and there are plans for a film adaptation.