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This report is taken from PN Review 41, Volume 11 Number 3, January - February 1985.

The Case of Marek Nowakowski Lesley Chamberlain
The arrest of the Polish writer Marek Nowakowski, reported in PNR 40, came as a shock in dissident and literary circles. He was later released and benefited from the general amnesty in July. One reason for his arrest seems to have been the publication of his latest fiction in Polish in Paris, Report on a State of War and Notes from Everyday Life, which deal expressly with the Solidarity period and martial law. Another reason may have been to put pressure on his wife, a lawyer preparing the defence for imprisoned dissident Adam Michnik, who was also freed after the amnesty, against his will.

By a series of arrests and indictments, followed by a general pardon, the Polish authorities have tried to indicate the firm hold they have on Polish life after the Solidarity crisis. Hardly anyone would dispute the claim as far as literature is concerned. The arrest of Marek Nowakowski, 'Hemmingwayish and highly talented', as one critic put it, had the feeling of constituting a landmark in Polish literary life. Last year another milestone was erected with the re-constitution of the Writers' Union under new rules and a new president, Halina Auderska, a little-known novelist now in her eighty-first year. The new contract of membership states that no writer in the Union may publish his or her work abroad or underground. About four hundred writers have signed, most of them newcomers, compared with a Union membership of 1700 in the pre-crisis years.

The 1980-1983 crisis ...


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