Elaine Neil Orr
In addition to two scholarly books, Elaine Neil Orr is the author of Gods of Noonday: A White Girl’s African Life (memoir, Virginia, 2003/2005). Her essays, stories and poems have recently appeared in the Louisville Review, Southern Cultures, Image, and Cold Mountain, and she has received grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the North Carolina Arts Council. Currently she is at work on “Every Trembling Heart,” a historical novel about early missionaries to West Africa. 
Dec 01 2007
My Life with Hair
March 2006. I’m sitting in a hot tub at Well of Mercy Catholic Retreat Center in Hamptonville, North Carolina, under a full moon. I got in on this chilly night hoping to drift further away from the anxieties that prompted me to retreat: the regular stack of ungraded papers, a botched repair job in my kitchen, a spat with a friend. I’m a person who received pancreas and kidney transplants six years ago, and I’m easily fatigued. My mother is elderly, our country is at war — there’s enough to be concerned about. But what I’m thinking of at the moment is my hair.
Mar 01 2003
Dieting in Africa
The first time I heard about dieting, it was my mother who was doing it. In my eighth year, my mother, father and I lived in the town of Eku, in the middle of the Nigerian rain forest. My sister was away at boarding school. My parents were medical missionaries, and one of the things my mother did was visit village clinics, where she taught mothers about good nutrition, germ theory and the love of Jesus.