Nancy Henderson-James was born in Tacoma, Washington, in 1945 but soon moved to Portugal with her parents to learn Portuguese, in preparation for a life in Angola, which was then a Portuguese colony.
She lived there until sixteen except for a stint in high school in Salisbury, Rhodesia. When the Angolan war for independence broke out in 1961, she left Africa to finish high school in Tacoma. She graduated from Carleton College and later received her library science degree from Pratt Institute. She worked in school libraries for 30 years.
She has published essays in newspapers and magazines and compiled Africa Lives in My Soul: Responses to an African Childhood, based on a survey of missionary kids and other global nomads. A chapter of At Home Abroad was published in Unrooted Childhoods: Memoirs of Growing Up Global. She has received honors from the Southern Women Writers Conference and the North Carolina Writers’ Network.
She lives in Durham, North Carolina with her husband.