Scottish-born artist Lynne Harkes, whose flower oil paintings have been exhibited worldwide, has turned her hand to writing a memoir – and the result is as lovely and inspiring as her artwork.




by Lynne Harkes


19 November, 2012, Edinburgh – Her vibrant flower paintings hang in collections in India, Australia, South America, Kuwait, Oman, Bali, South Africa and the UK – but the latest creative venture from Lynne Harkes is Spinach Soup for the Walls: Finding my spirit in Africa, a memoir that documents her travels as an expatriate spouse.

Harkes has lived all over the world – the UK, Italy, the Sultanate of Oman, Nigeria, a spell in South America – but, as so many expats discover, the intensity of a nomadic existence can magnify personal challenges. It was in the jungle of Gabon, West Africa that Harkes found herself retreating into unhappiness and isolation as she struggled to come to terms with her role as expat spouse.

Spinach Soup for the Walls: Finding my spirit in Africa is the story of how Harkes fought to rediscover her own spirituality and sought out a new way of thinking. Along the way, the book describes both the hospitality and resilience of the native peoples, and the magnificence of the landscape and animal world.


Lynne Harkes is an accomplished artist and a newly published author.
The cover of
Spinach Soup for the Walls is based on one of her paintings:
“A Celestial Gathering” 170 x 120 cm oil on canvas.


Harkes says of her transition from canvas to print: “Just as my paints freely move across the canvas, with seemingly little effort on my part, the words in Spinach Soup for the Walls have at times come together almost magically and powerfully convey the highs and lows of expatriate travelling life.”

She has written the book as “a message of hope” for those encountering personal struggles. “We think we have to slay rampaging lions, or have walked through blazing fires to have a life-altering, personal transformation. Nothing could be further from the truth. My story is simple in its content and moderate in its drama but remarkable in its lessons. I hope my words will inspire people to see the remarkable in their ‘ordinary’.”


Lynne Harkes was born in Edinburgh, where she currently lives and works as an artist. Her bold flower paintings hang in collections in India, Australia, South America, Kuwait, Oman, Bali, South Africa and the UK. Due to the nature of her husband’s work in the oil industry, which has seen him relocate every few years, Harkes has lived all over the world. She believes her creativity in both her art and literary work is a way for her to share the spirituality that is so important to her.


Publication date: 12 NOVEMBER 2012

Price: £8.00/€9.50/$13.00

Publisher: Local Legend (

ISBN: 9781-907203-46-6

194 pp; available in both paperback and e-book


For interviews with the author and/or to arrange review copies, images and excerpts of the book, please contact the author, Lynne Harkes, via her website ( or Facebook page, or email


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