Born in Treviso, Paola Pastacaldi now lives and works in Milan (but her grandmother is from Harar). A journalist, writer and essayist, she graduated in philosophy from Cà Foscari University in Venice and for years has been an expert in communication and has written a great number of publications.
Two of her grandparents lived in Africa. Her paternal grandfather, Giuseppe Pastacaldi, a diplomat from Livorno, lived in Ethiopia from 1890 until he died in 1921. Giuseppe Pastacaldi was buried in Harar, a walled city dating back to the fifteenth century near the border with Somalia, the destination of great explorers like the Englishman Richard Burton and located on the old slave route. Her grandfather on her mother’s side was from Veneto and he moved to Asmara, Eritrea, in 1935 to work in the distribution of water. Based on the exotic memoires of her diplomat grandfather she wrote the novel ‘Khadja’ (peQuod 2005), the travels of an Italian in Africa at the end of the 1800s. The novel won the 2005 ‘City of Vegevano’ prize.
Paola Pastacaldi has worked as a reporter for the newspaper ‘Tribuna di Treviso’ as well as special correspondent for Mondadori. She was elected to 2 terms as culture advisor for ‘The Order of Journalists of Lombardy’. She has taught Critical and Comparative Analysis of the Italian and Foreign Press at the Università degli Studi di Milano (University of Milan) and Università Cattolica (Catholic University).
Moreover, she has written a great number of essays of noteworthy journalistic acclaim, among which ‘Giornali e questione femminile. La donna è solo mercato’ (Newspapers and women’s issues. Women are mere merchandise), ‘Mobbing. Un’arma contro la professionalità’ (Mobbing. A weapon against professionalism) and ‘Le Notizie. Come leggere e scrivere un articolo’ (News. How to read and write an article), a dossier for students about to take their school-leaving diploma.
Paola Pastacaldi has been mentioned in the historic bibliographic dictionary: ‘Le donne del giornalismo italiano’ (Women working in Italian journalism) by Laura Pisano (FrancoAngeli, 2005).
She has just finished writing her second historical novel ‘L’Africa non è nera’ (Africa is not black) about the life of Italians in Eastern Africa during the 1930s and 1950s. The title was inspired by an article written in 1939 by Curzio Malaparte for the newspaper ‘Corriere della Sera’.
In 2005, she published the novel ‘Khadija’ (peQuod, 2005). Together with Bruno Rossi, she has published ‘Vorrei essere trasmesso – Cosa dicono i bambini della televisione’ (I would like to be broadcast. What children say about television) (Salani, 1998), ‘C’era tutt’altra volta’ (Once upon a totally different time) (Guanda, 1998), surreal stories: ‘L’indirizzo delle fate’ (The address of fairies) (Longanesi, 1992), ‘Viaggio nell’Italia delle favole e delle leggende regionali’ (A trip through Italy, its fairytales and regional legends), ‘Hitler è buono e vuole bene all’Italia’ (Hitler is good and loves Italy) (1992, Longanesi), what children think about Italian history and customs from 1930 to 1990 and ‘Sposerò il primo banco a destra’ (I’ll marry the first desk to the right) (ed. Tea).