Abigail Pesta is an award-winning journalist and author who has lived and worked around the world, including New York, London and Hong Kong. She is the coauthor of "How Dare the Sun Rise," a memoir of a young woman's phenomenal escape from a childhood massacre in Africa and her journey to a new life in America (HarperCollins, May 2017).

Her investigative and feature reporting has appeared in global publications including The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, NBC News, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Marie Claire, The Atlantic, Glamour, Newsweek and The Daily Beast. She is a vice president of the Overseas Press Club in New York.

Her investigative report on the "honor killing" of a young woman in Arizona was adapted into an episode of "48 Hours" on CBS News, as well as an episode of "Forbidden" on Investigation Discovery, featuring interviews with Abby discussing her findings. For The Wall Street Journal she has written a number of "A-Heds," the offbeat articles that are a defining feature of the Journal's front page. Her piece about a hairdo archaeologist is included in "Dogfight at the Pentagon," an A-Hed anthology.

Abby is represented by Lynn Johnston Literary. Read Abby's short fiction at Fine Words Butter No Parsnips, a website of art and fiction produced in collaboration with Maureen O'Hara Pesta, John Pesta and Jesse Pesta. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame.

Follow her on Twitter: @AbigailPesta.


Abigail Pesta is the coauthor of "How Dare the Sun Rise," the phenomenal life story of Sandra Uwiringiyimana, a young woman who escaped a fiery childhood massacre in Africa and embarked on a new life in America, where she faced a new set of hurdles -- starting with middle school in New York. Now an artist, activist and college student, Sandra is a powerful young voice for displaced and forgotten people.

Abigail Pesta

"How Dare the Sun Rise" will hit the shelves in May 2017. It is being published by the HarperCollins imprint Katherine Tegen Books and edited by Benjamin Rosenthal.

Abigail Pesta
Sandra Uwiringiyimana, Abigail Pesta


Abby has worked as a news and features editor and writer at publications including The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Glamour, Newsweek and The Daily Beast. For The Wall Street Journal she has written offbeat Page One features about hairdo archaeologists, useless machines and unloved metal "detectorists." The hairdo archaeologist piece also appears in The Wall Street Journal's A-Hed anthology "Dogfight at the Pentagon." She is the coauthor of the memoir "How Dare the Sun Rise" (HarperCollins, May 2017).

Her recent investigative and narrative journalism has focused on kids charged as felons for bullying, schoolgirls who escaped from Boko Haram to Oregon, survivors of a campus shooting, the controversy surrounding anti-trafficking activist Somaly Mam, gay teachers who got fired after marrying each other, conspiracy theorists who target victims of gun violence, the teenage sexual assault of actress AnnaLynne McCord and an Occupy Wall Street protester in jail. She got the first interview with Chelsea Manning, the transgender soldier who is in jail for leaking war documents. She has reported on unpaid NFL cheerleaders, sexual harassment on Wall Street and a high-school dropout who became a runway star. Her profile of WNBA star Glory Johnson lifted the veil on her 28-day marriage to fellow hoops star Brittney Griner.

She has profiled former sex slaves in Cambodia, college students in the U.S. who chase Pakistani terrorists, an American teenager imprisoned for high-school sex, a funny skateboarding mail guy in New York City, a teen girl who tweeted the names of her attackers, a sex slave turned radio host and a Texas teen who got kicked out of high school after reporting she was raped. She has written about honor killings in America, accidental sex offenders, cyberstalkers, forced marriage, the "womb wars," a cancer charity's questionable spending, rape-kit pileups, Scientology kids and jailbirds. She interviewed a woman who triumphed over a runaway husband/fraudster, a New Yorker who saved two young Russian women from being forced into sexual slavery on Coney Island and two long-lost sisters reunited after four decades, thanks to Facebook and a mysterious "search angel."

Abby has interviewed a wide range of newsmakers including Michelle Obama, Melinda Gates, Reese Witherspoon, Gabrielle Union, jazz phenom Esperanza Spalding, designer Donatella Versace, model and activist Christy Turlington, designer Diane von Furstenberg, Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the "Oprah" of China, the former fiancee of gay NBA player Jason Collins and Jessica Lynch, the young American soldier who was taken captive in Iraq.


Abby has received honors including two New York Press Club Awards for magazine feature reporting, three National Headliner Awards for magazine reporting, two Front Page Awards for magazine feature writing from the Newswomen's Club of New York, two Jane Cunningham Croly Awards for excellence in journalism, five Exceptional Merit in Media Awards from the National Women's Political Caucus, a PASS Award from the National Council on Crime & Delinquency for magazine reporting, two Clarion Awards from the Association for Women in Communications, a silver FOLIO Eddie Award for feature writing and a Min Editorial & Design Award for best single article.

Abby also shared a National Headliner Award with Mariane Pearl, author of the book "A Mighty Heart," for her role as editor of a series of columns Mariane wrote for Glamour. Her work was recognized with a GLAAD Media Award when Cosmopolitan won for Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage.


Abby has discussed her reporting on media outlets including CBS News, the BBC, MSNBC, CNBC, Investigation Discovery and Beast TV, among others.

Selected video clips:

Chelsea Manning's Transition: The transgender soldier wins a battle for hormone therapy in jail.

A New World: Four girls escape the terrorists of Boko Haram in Nigeria -- and land in small-town Oregon.

A Schoolgirl, Targeted by the Taliban: When a Pakistani youth is shot in the head on a school bus, Angelina Jolie carries her torch.

The Girl Who Tweeted Rape: A Kentucky teen tweets the names of two boys who sexually assaulted her, defying a judge--and upending the courts.

An American Honor Killing: Clip from a "48 Hours" feature based on Abby's profile of a girl killed by her dad.

America's Most Hated Author: A novelist infuriates parents by writing entire books in the language of text messages.

Escape from Scientology's "Sea Org": Astra Woodcraft leaves behind a wild childhood in the church's militant religious order, risking everything to break free.

Life After a Massacre in Africa: A girl survives a night of machete-wielding madmen, and turns tragedy into art.


abigail | at | abigailpesta | dot | com

Twitter: @abigailpesta


Copyright 2007-2017 Abby Pesta, all rights reserved.

Portrait by Jesse Pesta.