A Royston author and documentary filmmaker has written a memoir and travelogue detailing her journey from socialist Poland across the globe.

From the Eagle's Nest to the Lion's Den, by 72-year-old Mirka Anderson, tells the story of her life in Poland during a time of sociopolitical unrest, and how her world changed as she moved to the UK and travelled the world.

In Poland propaganda was used to control the population, and once Mirka left she was exposed to different cultures, languages, people and traditions - fighting through obstacles to achieve her dream of studying at an English university.

Born in Warsaw in 1951 as Mirka Kiersztejn, Mirka left Poland in 1973 after obtaining a degree in linguistics at the University of Warsaw.

She married in 1975 and her first daughter Caroline was born a year later, and in 1981 Mirka graduated with a diploma in speech therapy from City University in London.

Mirka's travels, detailed in her memoir, took her to New Zealand - where she worked as a speech therapist in an Auckland hospital - Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, Tahiti, the USA and Mexico.

When not travelling, Mirka has lived in the area for 40 years, spending 20 years in Bassingbourn and then another 20 years in Royston.

Mirka's second daughter Emma was born in 1984 with Down's syndrome and a potentially fatal heart condition.

Emma previously featured in the Crow at age 21, when she was a student at Cambridge Regional College and her art was exhibited in London.

Mirka's third daughter, Sophie, was born in 1990.

In 1992 Mirka was awarded an MSc in human communication from the University of London, and in 2017 directed a documentary The Sky's the Limit - which has won 30 award and which aims to alter perceptions towards people with Down's syndrome.


Speaking about her memoir, Mirka said: "The book covers masses of information over the whole world.

"There's one chapter about the success of my documentary and one about Emma and her struggles in her life with her Down's syndrome.

"There's lots of bits and pieces referencing our beautiful area. It's like a memoir and a travelogue."

The book aims to offer readers insight into socialist Poland, with Mirka explaining "one may take a Pole out of Poland, but one cannot take Poland out of a Pole".

She hopes the book will resonate with the children and grandchilden of Polish people living in the UK today.

Over the course of the memoir, Mirka looks back on the 50 years since she left Soviet Poland, and the experiences that have shaped her during that time.

Mirka also aims to encourage readers to go on their own travels, and inspire them to seize the day.

From the Eagle's Nest to the Lion's Den has been reviewed as an "incredibly evocative and unique autobiography and memoir", adding: "We find ourselves getting lost in the life of a person who lives life to the fullest."

The book is available to buy on Amazon.