Meet Paola Lucantis, whose passion journey took her, at the age of 50, from being a fundamental editor in prestigious publishing houses to opening her own bookstore-wine store

The important thing is that you do something that is essential for you, not that you are essential for someone

Paola Lucantis

Paola Lucantis is one of the most respected people in the world of books, literature and publishing. She has a quality that could be the antidote for almost everything, besides knowing the trade very well, she is a beloved person. Writers recognize the laborious work she does as she battles with sales numbers, market speculation, views, and best sellers. True, she is not the only one. Dozens of publishers fight the same battle every day, although hers is special: her name comes up (or used to come up) from major corporations such as Planeta and Tusquets. Every time one of the publishers released a title of contemporary Argentine literature, she appeared at the beginning, or end (which is just as important) of the long list of acknowledgements. She had made a place for herself in the immensity.

She got to that place through perseverance and smart decisions. Searching –  that’s how she defines herself, “I am a searcher” –  within a company where she had been placed in a position she had never applied for. Then she wondered what to do, what to do with what she had would be the right question. And there, in a forgotten corner, she found a space that seemed to be waiting for her, a “gap”. The publishing houses where she worked had not yet included books of contemporary Argentine literature in their catalogs. That was the empty space she saw. Little by little, Paola became something like an independent editor within a corporate imprint. An expeditionary storyteller. She visited bookstores, took recommendations from booksellers, contacted new authors, “… I saw the gap and I started to fill it. I kept changing the covers, proposing new illustrations.” The idea worked. It worked for years, but companies have rules, structures that are like concrete walls difficult to overcome, and she began to get tired of defending and justifying something that could stand on its own “…At first it was because she had found it, then because the niche didn’t work, and then because it was successful,” she explains.

At a point, her passion journey had to take a turn. It was propelled by Juan Forn, a key figure in the world of books, literature and publishing. It was inspired by a co-worker and friend who, in the midst of the pandemic, made a proposal that would radically change her life and encouraged by her partner who asked her to leave a job that was not making her happy. Paola Lucantis took the plunge and pleasantly surprised her son Nicolas, who perhaps didn’t think that at the age of 50 it was still possible to change course. “I will no longer drink from this water,” she told herself. She developed a good plan, resigned from her well-known job and opened a bookstore-wine shop with her partner and friend, Paulina Cossi. The place’s name was an inspiration from Almudena Grandes, one of the most notable writers of Spanish-language literature. The neighborhood of choice was Nuñez, in the city of Buenos Aires. The opening was set for July 2023. But let’s take a look at the itinerary. It is known that behind an important decision is a valuable story to be told.

Te llamaré viernes is the name of the Bookstore Wine store located in Nuñez Buenos Aires

My son was amazed, and it was also an excellent example for him to say, well, at 50, you can turn the page and do something else. I think the same goes for Paulina’s children, there’s a certain feeling that comes when you say, ‘I’m not going to stay in this place just because I’ve been placed here’.

    Paola Lucantis

    ***

    Books were always it. At least in Paola Lucantis’ life. Books, writers, publishers, friends… “I had the privilege of meeting people who very generous, intellectually solid…warm. That is a privilege and it is part of what one does with relationships, how you shape yourself in that  professional universe, also based on who you are personally.”

    When she was 20, she was at a family dinner and asked her father’s friend, who was an editor at Grupo Zeta, if he could get her a job there. She didn’t care what position she got, she just wanted to join a publishing house. There was a large library in the house and Paola had been reading books that her mother had been giving her in dribs and drabs for a long time. “She is a universal reader. At home, we read a lot from the Latin American boom period, but my mother didn’t think I was prepared to read that type of books, so she gave me the ones that did not interest me.” Paola had “My Sweet Orange Tree” (Mi planta naranja lima) by Brazilian José Mauro de Vasconcelos in her hands, but she looked out of the corner of her eyes at what her mother was reading, a book by Oriana Fallaci, Italian writer, journalist and activist. She needed something else, and when no one saw her, she went for it. So she read “The Time of the Hero” (La ciudad y los perros) by Mario Vargas Llosa, secretly. Until the holy day arrived and they opened the entire library.

    She was born in Chile in 1971. On April 3, 1982, when she was eleven, Paola and her family moved to Argentina. They arrived in the country in the middle of the civil-military dictatorship and the Malvinas War. Paola assumes that her mother’s prohibition of certain books was a way to protect her from the Latin American violence that was taking place.

    The request she had made to his father’s friend had good results. She started working at Grupo Zeta while the editorial team of a magazine was being set up. She was the assistant to those who were part of the editorial team, “…Rogelio García Lupo, Marta Merkin, Carlos Ulanovsky, Marcelo Birmajer, Pablo de Santis worked there, that magazine was at the top of the literary world in the 90s.” It was a time of openness and learning. Her boss was Juan Sasturain, another great name in Argentine literature, “…imagine having Juan Sasturain as a boss, he would leave a book on my desk every week for me to read. I would arrive, open the drawer and find a book Juan had left for me.”

    Paola managed the news archive, she did it manually. She would cut out things related to show business, topics related to the magazine they were in, and would paste the material in a folder. She also made sure that articles from other journalists arrived on the stipulated date, she ordered and sent books, and she served coffee. She did whatever needed to be done.

    After some time, the magazine closed and she became the secretary of Pablo Dittborn, editorial director of Ediciones b. She was in charge of the press and foreign trade, “…at one point I handled everything related to exports, to the distribution of books in Latin America…I talked to distributors in Peru and Bolivia.” Her experience was growing, she was doing a good job, but in 1996 she was fired. The following year she joined Editorial Planeta, worked for a year and resigned; she then joined Editorial Sudamericana as head of press, worked for a year then  resigned to set up her own press agency. Let’s not forget…”I am a searcher”. Le Monde Diplomatique, Revista 3 puntos, Centro Cultural brasileño, Canal de la Ciudad, were some of the media and cultural spaces that did press with her. In 2010 she got something she had been wanting for a long time, she started working at Editorial Tusquets.

    The architecture of desire

    “I was the one that found Tusquets. I have a friend who’s a writer, Sergio Olguín, he always told me, ‘you have to work at Tusquets, it’s a place you will like aesthetically’… And he told Mariano Rocca, who at that time was the director, ‘you have to hire Paola’. So I started to chase Mariano to get him to hire me.”

    In 2005, the writer Almudena Grandes would visit Argentina brought by Tusquets, but Tusquets had no one to handle the press, to put together an agenda for the entire week that the Spanish writer was going to be in the country. This was Paola’s chance. Mariano Rocca offered her to schedule the agenda, and Paola replied, “I’ll handle everything, but if things go well, I’ll stay and work for you.” And it seems that the week was so spectacular that she began to manage the press at Tusquets, with an interesting bonus, she was also in charge of the press of the Cultural Center of Spain in Buenos Aires.

    Almudena Grandes picture taken from <a href=httpswwwinstagramcomtellamareviernesok target= blank rel=noopener title=>Te llamaré viernes<a> IG

    But she still didn’t have a contract with the publishing house, more opportunities were needed. And they came. The newspaper La Nación wanted two interviews that were like nuggets of gold, nobody could get them: the Japanese writer Haruki Murakami and the Swedish novelist and playwright Henning Mankell, “…and I said, I’m going to get them. Mariano told me, ‘you’re crazy’. I’m going to get them. And I did.” Murakami’s agent was on vacation and left Paola the contact for the direct secretary. Paola says she “played the Latin American card”, “we are a lot of readers, we never get these interviews, the media is always for Spain.” And it seems that the secretary was moved, she said yes, and La Nación had to urgently send a journalist to Hawaii, where Murakami was. Something similar happened with Mankel; in his agency there was a person who spoke perfect Spanish “and we ended up chatting like best buddies.” That’s how she got the two golden interviews. When Paola traveled to Spain, invited for the 40th anniversary of Tusquets, the owners of the publishing house, who had been captivated by the achievement, acted as sponsors, “they told Mariano, hire Paola and let her do anything that is needed.”

    In 2012, Tusquets was bought out by publishing house Planeta and Paola was left floating without a clear position until they offered to move her to the editing area, which she accepted without being sure if she could do it well. “Alberto Díaz helped me a lot, he started giving me some manuscripts that he couldn’t get into other publishing houses, he told me: ‘see if you can get them into Tusquets’, that’s how I edited Esther Cross…he gave me those manuscripts.” Timidly, he started to suggest some new things. “I then realized that the Argentine fiction, the Argentine literature, especially by new authors and new voices, was quite weak at Planeta. And I started to get involved there. A new, unprecedented space was being invented.

    Juan Forn, the Fridays friend

    At one point, the then editorial director of Planeta, Ignacio Iraola, proposed to Juan Forn – editor and writer known, among other things, for the back pages he wrote on Fridays in the newspaper Página 12 – to put together a collection of books and to do it together with Paola. The collection was called Rara Avis. “I worked on everything with Juan. I worked with him on all the books that came out. He coordinated, read, and looked for the manuscripts that had to be requested from who knows where to be translated by I don’t know who. I learned a lot with Juan.” They fought, argued, talked, released wonderful books such as “Las Malas”, by Camila Sosa Villada, or the diaries of the photographer Adriana Lestido.

    Paola was starting to get tired of working in a publishing house that put certain values above others. “I understand the business perfectly well, I have a business, but I also believe that the bet, when you are behind a place of power, is to raise the level, to bet on it, to promote it. That does not mean publishing 700 books. What I don’t agree with is cancelling the discussion of contents because of an economic maneouver.” And the more demoralized Paola was, the more Juan Forn insisted that she leave everything and go to Mar de las Pampas to read, ‘the only thing an editor has to do is read,’ he said.

    One Friday, Paola and Juan spoke on the phone for three long and unforgettable hours, “he wanted a book – it was the memoirs of Bernard Shaw – I got it for him at a bookstore in Acassuso while we were talking. And he would say, ‘well, enough fighting there, come here’, he suggested a couple of apartments or cabins for me to go to.” He kept saying, ‘Take a vacation, come and read. I’ll let you use my library, get out of there.’” Two days later, on Father’s Day Sunday, Juan Forn died unexpectedly. For Paola, that conversation they had was fundamental for what came next.

    Books, Libra, Venus, Friday… That’s It! I’ll call you Friday

    “I ask you to please resign, this is going to ruin us all,” her partner told her. Something had to be done. The pandemic came and Paola was finding a kinder way of working, she had established  a good routine, she edited books, she read, when a back cover didn’t work out she would go for a bike ride and the ideas would flow, she would go home and start writing. “One of those bitter days during the pandemic, I went to see Paulina Cossi, a friend and also head of press at Planeta. We went for a walk by the park, both wearing our masks, and she tells me, ‘I can’t take it anymore, I can’t go back to work after the pandemic, I’m not going back. I want to open a bookstore.’ Paola gave her a strange look, like when someone hears something crazy (a pretty sane crazy thing). The idea floated in the air…one, two days passed, fifteen days passed, and Paola picked up the phone and called Paulina, “if it has wines, if it’s going to be a bookstore and wine shop, then let’s do it.” she said.

    One of those bitter days during the pandemic, I go to see Paulina Cossi, a friend and the chief of press at Planeta. We go for a walk around the park wearing our masks, and she tells me, ‘I can’t take it anymore, I can’t go back after the pandemic, I’m not going back. I want to open a bookstore.’ You’re drunk, I told her. ‘Let’s go into partnership,’ she said. No way, I said. Fifteen days later I called her and told her “if there’s wine, if it’s going to be a bookstore and wine store, then let’s do it.”

    Paola Lucantis

    They met online one afternoon per week during the entire pandemic. They looked for names, imagined projects, festivals, they entertained delusional ideas, documents would come and go. In 2020 it occurred to them that “Te Llamaré Viernes”, the name of a novel by Almudena Grandes, the writer Paola accompanied for a whole week during a visit to Argentina, was the perfect name. It had a special word for them: “Friday”. They are both Librians, the planet that rules Libra is Venus. Venus, Friday, Juan Forn and his Friday back pages in Página 12, that endearing conversation he and Paola had had, of course, on a Friday. Everything made sense. “We wrote to Almudena and told her that she couldn’t say anything because we were both going to leave Planeta. But we wanted to open a space and we wanted it to be a bookstore, and we asked if we could use the name of the novel, and of course, she said yes, she loved it.”

    I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my therapist; she always said to me, ‘There is always another way, there is always another way, there’s not just one way to live. Believing that there’s only one way to live is a way of locking yourself in a place that immobilizes you’

    Paola Lucantis

    In 2022, Paola resigned from a cycle that had lasted many years, one that had been completed to make way for another that had just begun, although her experience with books gave her a great advantage. In July 2023, together with Paulina Cossi, they opened the bookstore and wine shop Te Llamaré Viernes. It took them about a year, but they found a space in the Nuñez neighborhood before quitting their jobs. They created a meticulous and precious business that is, in a way, sponsored by figures like Juan Forn and Almudena Grandes and that is, in turn, an open  door for writers. Te Llamaré Viernes sells books and wines, and generates all kinds of event series: poetry readings, narrative readings, wine and literature tastings, book presentations.

    Chosen vs. non acquired obstacles

    There is no project, no job, no life without obstacles. There are always difficulties to overcome, we know that well. But sometimes there is the possibility of choosing which problem we want to have. “I got tired of having to clear obstacles all the time. Here in the bookstore you have thousands of obstacles, but I manage which obstacles I clear, how I advance, how I stop.” Paola and Paulina encountered difficult moments, they were twice on the verge of saying “we are not going to make it,” they were twice on the verge of abandoning the project. “You get discouraged, it’s not easy. Then one would stop and say to the other, “come on, let’s get it.” And they moved forward through a path that was often uncertain, dizzying, “…you never trully know anything, what you do know is the desire to do something else.”

    The energy Paola devotes to her projects is passionate and it seems – it only seems – inversely proportional to the leisurely way she answers each question in this interview…What did they tell you when you left Planeta? I ask her. She pauses, thinks, and answers. “The important thing is that you do something that is essential for you, not that you are essential for someone.”

    Paola Lucantis: de editora fundamental en sellos como Planeta y Tusquets al proyecto propio de una librería-vinoteca donde hace lo que le gusta tranquila y feliz

    Lo importante es que hagas algo que sea imprescindible para vos, no que vos seas imprescindible para alguien

    Paola Lucantis

    En el mundo de los libros, la literatura y las editoriales, Paola Lucantis es una de las personas más respetadas. Tiene una cualidad que podría ser el antídoto para casi todo, además de conocer muy bien el oficio, es una persona querida. Escritoras y escritores reconocen el laborioso trabajo que hace mientras batalla con números de venta, especulaciones de mercado, views y best sellers. Es cierto, no es la única. Decenas de editoras y editores libran diariamente la misma batalla, aunque la suya es especial: su nombre se desliza (o se deslizaba) de importantes corporaciones como Planeta y Tusquets. Cada vez que una de las editoriales sacaba un título de literatura argentina contemporánea, ella figuraba en el inicio, o final (que es igual de importante) de la larga lista de agradecimientos. Se había hecho un lugar en la inmensidad.

    Lo consiguió a costa de perseverancia y decisiones inteligentes. Buscando – así se define, “yo soy una busca” – dentro de una empresa en la que había quedado ubicada en un puesto que nunca había solicitado. Entonces se preguntó qué hacer. Qué hacer con lo que tenía, sería la pregunta correcta. Y por allá, en un rincón olvidado, encontró un espacio que parecía estar esperándola, un “hueco”. Las editoriales en las que ella trabajaba aún no habían incluido en su catálogo libros de literatura contemporánea argentina. Ese fue el espacio vacío que vio. Poco a poco, Paola se convirtió en algo parecido a una editora independiente dentro de un sello corporativo. Una expedicionaria de historias. Recorría librerías, tomaba recomendaciones de libreros, contactaba nuevas autoras,“… vi el hueco y lo fui armando. Fui cambiando las tapas, proponiendo ilustraciones”. La idea funcionaba. Funcionó durante años, pero las empresas tienen reglas, estructuras que son como paredes de hormigón difíciles de sortear y ella empezó a cansarse de defender y justificar algo que podía valerse por sí mismo  “… Al principio fue porque lo había encontrado, después porque el hueco no rendía y después porque fue exitoso”.

    Impulsada por Juan Forn, una figura clave dentro del mundo de los libros, la literatura y las editoriales. Inspirada por una compañera de trabajo y amiga que, en medio de la pandemia le hizo una propuesta que cambió radicalmente su vida. Alentada por su pareja que le pedía dejar un trabajo que no la estaba haciendo feliz. Paola Lucantis dio el volantazo y sorprendió gratamente a su hijo Nicolás que tal vez no creía que a los cincuenta años se podía cambiar el rumbo. De esta agua ya no he de beber, sedijo ella. Armó un buen plan, renunció al conocido trabajo y abrió una librería-vinoteca junto a su socia amiga, Paulina Cossi. El nombre del lugar lo cedió Almudena Grandes, una de las escritoras más notables de la literatura de habla hispana. El barrio elegido fue Nuñez, en la ciudad de Buenos Aires. La fecha de inauguración, julio de  2023. Pero veamos cuál fue el recorrido. Se sabe, detrás de una decisión importante, hay una historia valiosa por conocer.

    ***

    La cosa siempre fue con libros. Al menos en la vida de Paola Lucantis. Con libros, escritoras, editores, amigas… “Tuve el privilegio de conocer gente muy generosa, muy sólida intelectualmente… cálida. Eso es un privilegio y es parte de lo que uno hace con las relaciones, como te vas conformando en ese universo profesional, también a partir de lo que sos personalmente”.

    A los 20 años, estaba en una cena familiar y le dijo al amigo de su padre, que era editor en Grupo Zeta, si podía conseguirle un trabajo ahí. No le importaba el puesto que le dieran, ella quería entrar en una editorial. En la casa había una gran biblioteca y Paola venía leyendo hacía tiempo los libros que, a cuenta gotas, le habilitaba su madre. “Ella es una lectora universal. En mi casa se leyó mucho el boom latinoamericano, pero mi madre creía que yo no estaba preparada para leer ese tipo de libros, entonces me daba los que no me interesaban”. Paola tenía entre manos “Mi planta naranja lima”, del brasilero José Mauro de Vasconcelos, pero miraba de reojo lo que estaba leyendo su madre, un libro de Oriana Fallaci, escritora, periodista y activista italiana. Necesitaba otra cosa, y cuando nadie la veía iba a por ello. Así leyó “La ciudad y los perros”, de Mario Vargas Llosa, a escondidas. Hasta que el santo día llegó y habilitaron la biblioteca completa.

    Nació en Chile en el año 71. El 3 de abril de 1982, a sus once, se radicaron con su familia en Argentina. Llegaron al país en plena dictadura cívico militar y guerra de Malvinas. Paola supone que las prohibiciones de su madre a ciertos libros, eran una manera de protegerla de la violencia latinoamericana que se estaba viviendo. 

    El pedido que le había hecho al amigo de su padre tuvo buenos resultados. Entró a trabajar en Grupo Zeta, en el momento que se armó la redacción de una revista. Era la asistente de todos los que formaban parte de la redacción, “…trabajaban Rogelio García Lupo, Marta Merkin, Carlos Ulanovsky, Marcelo Birmajer, Pablo de Santis, esa revista tenía el top del mundo literario en los 90”. Fue una época de apertura y aprendizaje. Su jefe era Juan Sasturain, otro gran nombre de la literatura argentina, “…imaginate tener a Juan Sasturain de jefe, me dejaba un libro todas las semanas en mi escritorio para que leyera. Yo llegaba, abría el cajón y tenía un libro que me había dejado Juan”.

    Paola llevaba el archivo de noticias. Lo hacía de modo manual, recortaba lo que tenía que ver con el mundo del espectáculo, temas relacionados a la revista en la que estaban, y pegaba el material en una carpeta. Además, se ocupaba de que las notas de otros periodistas llegaran en la fecha estipulada, pedía libros, enviaba libros, servía café. Hacía lo que hiciera falta hacer.

    Al tiempo la revista cerró y pasó a ser la secretaria del director editorial de Ediciones b, Pablo Dittborn. Se ocupaba de la prensa y hacía la parte de comercio exterior, “en un momento me dediqué a todo lo que era exportación. A la distribución de los libros en Latinoamérica. Hablaba con los distribuidores de Perú, de Bolivia”. La experiencia crecía, estaba haciendo un buen trabajo, pero en el año 96 la echaron. Al siguiente entró a Editorial Planeta, trabajó un año, renunció, entró a Editorial Sudamericana como jefa de prensa, trabajó un año, renunció, armó su propia agencia de prensa. Recordemos, “yo soy una busca”. Le Monde Diplomatique, Revista 3 puntos, Centro Cultural brasileño, Canal de la Ciudad, eran algunos de los medios y espacios culturales que hacían prensa con ella. En el año 2010 consiguió algo que venía buscando hacía tiempo, entró a trabajar en la Editorial Tusquets.

    La arquitectura del deseo

    “A Tusquets lo busqué yo. Tengo un amigo escritor que es Sergio Olguín, que siempre me decía, vos tenés que trabajar para Tusquets, es un lugar que te va a gustar estéticamente… Y él le decía a Mariano Rocca, que en ese momento era el director, tenés que contratar a Paola. Entonces empecé a perseguir a Mariano para que me contratara”.

    En el 2005, la escritora Almudena Grandes visitaría Argentina de la mano de Tusquets, pero Tusquets no tenía a nadie que se ocupara de la prensa, de armar una agenda la semana completa que iba a estar la española en el país. Fue la oportunidad de Paola. Mariano Rocca le ofreció programar dicha agenda, y Paola respondió, “yo me hago cargo, pero si todo sale bien, me quedo trabajando con ustedes”. Y parece que fue tan espectacular aquella semana que comenzó a hacerse cargo de la prensa de Tusquets, con un bonus interesante, también quedaba a cargo de la prensa del Centro Cultural de España en Buenos Aires.

    Pero todavía no tenía contrato con la editorial, faltaban más oportunidades. Y llegaron. El diario La Nación quería dos entrevistas que eran como pepitas de oro, nadie podía conseguirlas. Al escritor japonés Haruki Murakami y al novelista y dramaturgo sueco Henning Mankell, “Y yo dije, las voy a conseguir. Mariano me dijo, estás loca. Las voy a conseguir. Y lo hice”. El agente de Murakami estaba de vacaciones y le dejó a Paola el contacto de la secretaria directa. Paola dice que “lloró la carta latinoamericana”,“somos un montón de lectores, nunca accedemos a estas entrevistas, siempre los medios son para España”. Y parece que la secretaria se conmovió, dijo que sí, y La Nación tuvo que enviar urgente una periodista a Hawai, donde se encontraba Murakami. Con Mankel pasó algo parecido, en su agencia había una persona que hablaba perfecto español “y terminamos hablando como chanchos”. Así consiguió las dos entrevistas de oro. Cuando Paola viajó a España, invitada por el aniversario 40 de Tusquets, los dueños de la editorial, que habían quedado cautivados por el logro, oficiaron de padrinos, “le dijeron a Mariano, contratala a Paola y que haga todo lo que falta”.

    En el año 2012, Tusquets es comprada por Planeta y Paola queda boyando sin un puesto claro, hasta que le proponen pasar al área de edición y ella acepta sin estar segura de poder hacerlo bien. “Alberto Díaz me ayudó mucho, me empezó a dar algunos manuscritos que él no podía meter en otros sellos, “Me dijo, fijate si los podes meter por Tusquets, así edité a Esther Cross… esos manuscritos me los dio él”. Tímidamente, empezó a proponer algunas cosas. “Me di cuenta de que en Planeta estaba bastante floja la parte de ficción argentina, de literatura argentina, sobre todo de autores nuevos, nuevas voces. Y me fui metiendo ahí”. Se fue inventando un lugar nuevo, inédito.

    Juan Forn, el amigo de los viernes

    En un momento, el entonces director editorial de Planeta, Ignacio Iraola, le propuso a Juan Forn -editor y escritor conocidísimo, entre otras cosas, por las contratapas que escribía los días viernes en el diario Página 12-, armar una colección de libros, y que la hiciera junto con Paola. La colección se llamó Rara Avis. “Trabajé todo con Juan. Todos los libros que salieron los trabajé con él. Él coordinaba, leía, buscaba los manuscritos que había que pedir a no sé dónde para que los tradujera no sé quién. Aprendí mucho con Juan”. Se peleaban, discutían, conversaban, sacaban libros maravillosos como “Las Malas”, de Camila Sosa Villada, o los diarios de la fotógrafa Adriana Lestido.

    Pero Paola empezaba a estar cansada de trabajar en una editorial que ponía ciertos valores por encima de otros. “Entiendo perfectamente el negocio, tengo un negocio, pero también creo que la apuesta, cuando vos estás detrás de un lugar de poder, es subir el nivel, es apostar por eso, potenciarlo. Eso no quiere decir publicar 700 libros. Con lo que no estoy de acuerdo es con que se anule la discusión de contenidos por una chicana económica.”. Y cuanto más desmoralizada estaba Paola, más insistía Juan Forn en que dejara todo y se fuera a leer a Mar de las Pampas, “lo único que tiene que hacer un editor es leer.”, decía él.

    Un viernes, Paola y Juan hablaron por teléfono durante tres largas e inolvidables horas,“ él quería un libro, eran las memorias de Bernard Shaw, mientras hablábamos, lo conseguí en una librería en Acassuso. Y me decía, “bueno basta de pelear ahí, venite acá”, me había pasado un par de departamentos o cabañitas para que fuera. “Tomate vacaciones, venite a leer. Yo te habilito mi biblioteca, salite de ahí”, me decía”. Dos días después, un domingo del día del padre, Juan Forn murió inesperadamente. Para Paola, esa conversación que tuvieron fue fundamental para lo que vino después.

    Libros, libra, venus, viernes… ¡Listo! Te llamaré viernes

    “Te pido por favor que renuncies, esto nos va a llevar puestos a todos”, le decía su pareja. Algo había que hacer. Llegó la pandemia y Paola fue encontrando un modo más amable de trabajar, se había hecho una buena rutina, editaba libros, leía, cuando una contratapa no salía se iba a andar en bicicleta y las ideas fluían, llegaba a su casa, se ponía a escribir. “Uno de esos días amargos de la pandemia, voy a ver a Paulina Cossi, que es amiga y era jefa de prensa de Planeta. Vamos a dar una vuelta a la plaza, embarbijadas, y ella me dice, “yo no aguanto más, no puedo volver después de la pandemia, yo no vuelvo. Quiero abrir una librería”. Paola la miró con cara de haber escuchado una locura (una locura bastante cuerda). La idea quedó flotando en el aire, pasaron uno, dos días, pasaron quince y Paola agarró el teléfono, llamó a Paulina, “si tiene vinos, si es librería y vinería, vamos para adelante”, dijo.

    Se reunieron de modo online una tarde por semana, durante toda la pandemia. Se dedicaban a buscar nombres, imaginar proyectos, festivales, delirios, iban documentos para allá, venían documentos para acá. En el 2020 se les ocurrió que Te llamaré viernes, el nombre de una novela de Almudena Grandes, aquella escritora que Paola acompañó durante una semana completa en una visita a la Argentina,  era el nombre perfecto. Tenía una palabra especial para ellas: “viernes”. Las dos son librianas, el planeta que rige Libra es Venus. Venus, viernes, Juan Forn y sus contratapas de los viernes, en Página 12, aquella entrañable conversación que habían tenido él y Paola, cómo no, un día viernes. Todo cerraba. “Le escribimos a Almudena y le dijimos que no podía decir nada porque nos íbamos a ir las dos de Planeta. Pero que queríamos abrir un espacio y queríamos que fuera una librería, que le pedíamos el nombre de la novela, por supuesto nos contestó que sí, que le encantaba”.

    En el año 2022, Paola renunció a un ciclo de muchos años, un ciclo cumplido, para darle paso a otro que recién comienza, aunque la experiencia con libros le de una gran ventaja. En julio de 2023, junto a Paulina Cossi, inauguraron la librería y vinoteca Te llamaré viernes. Antes de renunciar a sus trabajos, habían conseguido un local en el barrio de Nuñez, que había tardado un año en aparecer. Crearon un negocio meticuloso y precioso que está, de algún modo, apadrinado por figuras como Juan Forn y Almudena Grandes y que es, a su vez, una puerta que se abre para escritoras y escritores. Te llamaré viernes vende libros y vinos y genera todo tipo de ciclos: lecturas de poesía, de narrativa, catas de vinos y literatura, presentaciones de libros.

    Los obstáculos elegidos vs no adquiridos

    No hay proyecto, no hay trabajo, no hay vida sin obstáculos. Siempre hay dificultades por sortear, eso lo sabemos bien. Pero a veces está la posibilidad de elegir qué problema queremos tener. “Me cansé de estar sacando obstáculos todo el tiempo. Acá en la librería tenés miles de obstáculos, pero yo regulo qué obstáculos saco, cómo avanzo, cómo me detengo”. Paola y Paulina se encontraron con momentos difíciles, estuvieron dos veces a punto de decir “esto no va”, dos veces a punto de abandonar el proyecto. “Te desanimas, no es fácil. Después una se paraba y le decía a la otra, dale que va”. Y avanzaban por un camino muchas veces incierto, vertiginoso, “…nunca sabés nada, lo que sabés es el deseo de hacer otra cosa”.

    La energía que Paola destina a sus proyectos es pasional y parece (sólo parece) inversamente proporcional al modo pausado que tiene para responder cada pregunta de esta entrevista… ¿Qué te dijeron cuando te fuiste de Planeta?, le pregunto. Ella hace una pausa, piensa, responde. “Lo importante es que hagas algo que sea imprescindible para vos, no que vos seas imprescindible para alguien”.

    author avatar
    Guadalupe Faraj
    I was born in Argentina 47 years ago. Since I can remember, I have been interested in art or in any other aesthetic and sensitive expression that transmits a feeling. Above all, literature and photography are my two passions, the universes where I spend most of my time. However, I must say that there is a difference between one passion and another: writing, without a doubt, is what I will do or do, what I can’t leave. Being a writer is a desire that I don’t know when it started. Since forever? It was what I wanted to be (do). Furthermore, I wanted writing to be my source of income: writing and receiving money in exchange. For it to happen, I had to make decisions, have patience, perseverance, luck, and, of course, study. I studied philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires. I did workshops and clinics with writers that I liked. I dedicated myself to traveling, reading, and writing. If through literature, I wanted -and want- to win prizes and publish articles and books that are read by many people, with photography, I had no other aspiration than to take photos when I had the camera at hand, look, and contemplate. However, I also trained myself to be a photographer: I took courses in photography, and I studied photojournalism and direction in photography. I worked taking photos at weddings, 15th birthday parties, school portraits, and rock festivals. Much later, paid work would arrive as a writer. Meanwhile, I wrote. One day, I had my first novel ready, Namura. I sent a copy to several contests, and it came out as the winner in one. The novel won the Pola de Siero Short Novel award in Spain in 2011. I received the award in 2012; I was in my first pregnancy, and two months after receiving it, nothing came of what I expected; the baby was born and died after seven minutes due to a genetic problem. I automatically stopped writing. I tried and couldn’t. Or rather, the only thing I could write was a diary in which I described how sad the mornings were, the gray sky on those winter afternoons, and the calm I achieved on some nights. The diary, added to therapeutic help and a large network of affection and love, became the way to navigate the pain. After three years, I began to write fiction again, and that diary, far from being abandoned, was transformed into a literary object. From so much writing and correcting, the distance was generated that was needed for those cathartic pages to become a book. The texts began to dialogue with each other to have aesthetic meaning, melody, and the uniqueness that a work requires. It was called The Reptile Year (unpublished book), and in 2019, it received the First Honorable Mention in the Non-Fiction genre from the Letters Contest of the National Fund for the Arts, an autonomous organization within the Ministry of Culture of the Nation of my country. In 2020, I received a special award from the same contest for Jaulagrande, my second novel, framed in the dystopian genre. One thing was clear: what I wrote was of interest to other people, although I still couldn’t generate enough monetary support to live from it. In 2016, my beautiful son Lucio was born, and I decided. Instead of working as a photographer, I would work as a writer. All my intentions and actions were put at the service of writing. Then something started to happen; the words made their way. A few years ago, one of Argentina’s most important travel magazines, Lugares of the newspaper La Nación, had an opportunity for me. A friend told the editor about me just before a trip when the journalist had gotten sick, and they needed a replacement. Although I did not get the job at that time, it was the opportunity for which I did get it sometime later. To this day, I continue to collaborate with that media outlet. Later, other equally beautiful opportunities came. I was offered to write for a magazine called The Praxis Journal that belongs to one of the most iconic Art Galleries in Buenos Aires, and in Joyhood, where I interview passionate people. Asking questions, listening, and transforming what I hear into a written story is my job. Read books of stories that others tell, talk to people who have different lives than mine, and organize reading cycles, reading workshops, and writing workshops. Sometimes there are difficulties because no path, no matter how passionate it may be, is free of obstacles, but I am happy. I couldn’t (nor would I want to) do anything different from what I do. In some of the articles I write about trips I also take care of taking photos (I never completely stopped working as a photographer). I spend a lot of time with my passions, so much so that I can say that they are part of my essence; they are my way of seeing life.

    Share this post

    Subscribe for the latest Joyhood news

    Verified by MonsterInsights