Independent Publishing House NOWA

The Independent Publishing House NOWA was the first underground publishing house in the People's Republic of Poland. After opening in 1977, it soon became the largest independent publisher in Communist Poland. In 1989, after the fall of Communism and the change to a democratic political system, the publishing house changed its name to SuperNowa and became private in 1993. It continues to publish works to this day, including books by Andrzej Sapkowski.


In 1977, Students at John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin started an independent publishing house, creating their own magazine, Zapis, and the first two issues were published under that name. The name Nieocenzurowana Oficyna Wydawnicza was suggested by Janusz Krupski, Piotr Jegliński and Wit Wójtowicz, and that summer, the Lublin students contacted Mirosław Chojecki, an activist for the Workers' Defense Committee, who agreed regarding the name. Under Chojecki's leadership, NOWA was moved to Warsaw, and in August 1977, its first book was issued, titled Pochodzenie Systemu. It was authored by Marek Tarniewski, whose real name was Jakub Karpiński, a sociologist, who had been expelled from Warsaw University in the late 1960s.


From 1977 until 1989, NOWA published approximately 300 books, consisting of both Polish and foreign literature, as well as modern history. Average circulation ranged from several hundred to several thousand per title. NOWA also printed a number of underground magazines, including "Zapis", "Krytyka", "Puls", and "Tygodnik Mazowsze". It was organized along the lines of a professional publishing house and handled its own printing and distribution. Profits from book sales allowed NOWA to pay royalties to its writers and salaries to its translators, printers, and distributors. In the mid-1980s, NOWA began offering video and audio tapes.

Selected publications

In August 1980, NOWA was headed by Konrad Bieliński, Grzegorz Boguta, and Mirosław Chojecki. They were supported by Adam Michnik, Ewa Milewicz, Anatol Lawina, Jan Narożniak, and Ryszard Knauff. Printing and distribution were controlled by Marek Chimiak, Mieczysław Grudziński, and Piotr Szwajcer.
After creation of the Solidarity trade union in August 1980, NOWA was headed by Grzegorz Boguta, Marek Borowik, and Marek Chimiak. In December 1981, NOWA was briefly managed by Paweł Bąkowski, as the previous managers were imprisoned by the Communist government. In autumn 1982, Boguta returned, supported by several other activists, such as Piotr Szwajcer, Przemyslaw Cieslak, Marek Borowik, Jan Walc, Marek Chimiak, Jan Kofman, Andrzej Paczkowski, Miroslaw Kowalski, Marek Kubin, Andrzej Werner, and Adam Widmanski.