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Elaine Neil Orr

In addition to A Different Sun, Elaine Neil Orr has published a memoir, Gods of Noonday: A White Girl’s African Life; co-edited a collection of essays on international childhoods, Writing Out of Limbo; and is the author of two scholarly books. Gods of Noonday (University of Virginia Press, 2003), was a Top-10 Book Sense selection and a nominee for the Old North State Award. Lee Smith called A Different Sun: A Novel of Africa (Berkley/Penguin, 2013) “as lyrical and passionate a novel as has ever been written.” Orr has published extensively in literary magazines and has won grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She was born in Nigeria in 1954 to medical missionary parents and spent her growing-up years in the savannahs and rain forests of that country.  Her family remained in Nigeria during its civil war.  Orr left West Africa at the age of sixteen and attended college in Kentucky, where she met her husband.  They live in North Carolina.

Ten Things I Can’t Do Without

  1. Faith in something that endures
  2. The natural universe of streams, birds, foxes, lizards, and stones
  3. Literature
  4. Mentors and friends (including Andy and Joel)
  5. Writing
  6. Students
  7. Journals
  8. Green tea
  9. Yoga
  10. A good haircut


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