LECH WALESA, leader of Poland's outlawed Solidarity trade union, and winner of the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize, has embarked on a new career: writing.
The French publishing house, Fayard, rolled 100,000 copies of Walesa's autobiography off its presses last week. The 600-page book, entitled Le C'hemin de 1' Espoir (The Path of Hope), had been scheduled for publication in Poland by the Catholic publishing house, Znak, but a lack of paper supplies delayed the plans indefinitely, according to Walesa.
The publication of Le Chemin, shrouded in secrecy til the last minute by Fayard, involved about 40 people in both France and Poland, who smuggled "pages and chapters by circuits that we will not reveal", according to the head of Fayard, Claude Durand.
The autobiography, written by Walesa with the aid of two friends, took more than a year to write and to export, page by page, to Paris, where it was edited b) M Durand himself.
The enterprise, said M Durand, was "the most difficult job of my entire career", requiring translation from Polish to French, then back again, for Walesa's proofreading.