Kristin Duncombe Reviews Sunshine Soup by Jo Parfitt

Jo Parfitt has done it again. She has written a book both for and about expats, and the extraordinary ordinariness of their lives. Marital struggles, identity wobbles, the difficulties of and with children (including not being able to have them. All the stuff of life that affects people everywhere, even if they have lived in the same town, in the same country, their entire lives. In Sunshine Soup, though, these very human conundrums take place in the expat spin cycle, where people and families go for a whirl around the world before stopping for a rest in their “current” home. In the case of this book, it is Dubai, and the descriptions of the desert are so vivid we can practically feel the sand burning our feet. There is so much to enjoy about this novel, and it will especially resonate with anyone who has trotted the globe in support of a spouse’s career, or once been part of an expat family in some way, shape, or form. I found especially poignant the hard choices/situations faced by two of the main characters – the leaving behind of career and the “need” to cram every day full of activities just to make sure there is no unscheduled time in which depression or self-questioning might infiltrate. The prose is fluid and engaging, and the added bonus of this book are the fabulous recipes that are included at the end of the narrative, and make one who generally runs screaming from the kitchen interested in perhaps donning an apron? Highly recommended.

About the Book

Jo Parfitt offers a great opportunity to budding expat writers

Jo says…

For many I have attended the Families in Global Transition Conference (FIGT). First in Indianapolis, then in Houston, then in Washington, DC and now in The Hague. Next March not only will the conference take place in The Hague but it will be FIGT’s 20th anniversary. As if that is not exciting enough, four years ago I decided it was time I started giving back. I’ve been lucky with my writing career. Not only was I published in my early twenties by the first publisher I approached but I went on, fairly easily, to get published 12 more times and then craft myself a fully portable career as an author, publisher, journalist and speaker covering important expat issues.

I decided to start a program that would help FIGT with its marketing while giving new expat writers a lucky break that would give their portable careers a leg up.

March 2018 will not only be the 20th anniversary of FIGT but it will also be the 20th anniversary of my first meeting with Robin Pascoe. Robin is Canadian, had a brilliant career as an expat journalist and author, like me, and was equally passionate about FIGT and giving back.

And so, in 2014 the Parfitt Pascoe Writers Residency was born. Robin was not directly involved at that time, but there was no way the program could not contain her name. Each year I have trained four writers to cover the conference and then struggled to fund the publication of a book of their work.

Now, it’s 20 years.

And so to celebrate, Robin has decided to come on board to help with funding but work in a behind the scenes way (that’s because she’s really busy these days in charge of global PR for Maple Bear Global Schools. Nevertheless we have made an important decision and taken a massive step forward for the PPWR.

This year, we are funding FULL registration for SIX rather than FOUR new writers, adding in extra training for the successful applicants and taking on responsibility for publishing the books.


Because we care hugely about two things:

  1. The tough side of transition, particularly for today’s dislocated and displaced migrants.
  2. Helping new writers to write about stuff that matters, including their own experiences of global transition.

So, that’s what we are doing. We are excited. We are going to help new writers to get out of their comfort zones and write about the stuff ‘they don’t know’ but the world should know about: refugees, the homeless, the bereaved, the lost, the lonely. We are going to help writers get started on successful, productive, portable careers as writers.

If you think the PPWR might be for you, then visit FIGT to find out more and get your application in before the closing date of 1st October 2017.

Writing Retreats from Jo Parfitt

A Me-Treat is a treat designed just for you… indulge your senses, inspire your soul, nourish your body and stretch your writing muscles as you get under the skin of the place you are in and explore your creative potential. Me-Treats are designed and led by author, journalist, poet and mentor, Jo Parfitt.

The Hague, Netherlands | Penang, Malaysia | Devon, England | Charente, France

Spend time in the company of other like-minded people. Days begin and end with words. Mornings are for inspired learning; a time to immerse yourself in the best your location has to offer and be mindful of the everyday. Afternoons are for following your flow, relaxing and completing a piece of writing. You see, at six o’clock it’s time for the highlight of a Me-Treat – reading, sharing and connecting over a drink or two as we give feedback on the day’s creations. Then it’s time for dinner, with wine and more meaningful conversation. Some retreats include optional yoga. Partners and friends welcome at reduced rates. Fees include accommodation, breakfast, dinner and excursions.


Find out more HERE.

Write life stories in beautiful Tuscany

How to write your life story in a delightful setting in the heart of rural Tuscany — brilliant teaching and exquisite Italy all wrapped up in one fantastic week!

You will be in a beautiful historic watermill, set beside a river in a gentle valley, with stylish bedrooms in elegant buildings around the sunlit courtyard. You’ll take leisurely breakfasts and mouth-watering evening meals in the  Watermill’s new courtyard dining room (and also dine out in nearby restaurants to sample traditional dishes and local wines).  The gardens, secluded millstream paths and riverside walks are all yours to enjoy.

The Write Your Life Stories creative writing course is designed to help you produce your best work, to find your true writer’s ‘voice’ and to write authentically. Among other things, you’ll discover the secret of SPICE, the seven steps to writing life stories, and put this into practice right away.

 If you book before 1 September 2017 you can enjoy this inspiring 2018 writing holiday at 2017 prices. Find out more here.