Abigail Pesta is an award-winning writer who has lived and worked as a journalist around the world, including New York, London and Hong Kong.

She is the author of "The Girls: An All-American Town, a Predatory Doctor, and the Untold Story of the Gymnasts Who Brought Him Down," a news-breaking account of the gymnast sexual-abuse case that galvanized the athletes and the nation for justice. The Library Journal said the work "may be the most important sports title of the year," and the book's exclusive details and discoveries became the basis for an hour-long episode of "Dr. Phil," who described the reporting in "The Girls" as "probably the most thorough account of this case."

Abigail is the coauthor of "How Dare the Sun Rise," which The New York Times described as a "gut-wrenching, poetic memoir," and was named among the best books of 2017 by the New York Public Library, the Chicago Public Library, and many others.

Her investigative and feature reporting has appeared in publications including The Wall Street Journal, Cosmopolitan, NBC News, The New York Times, New York Magazine, Texas Monthly, Marie Claire, The Atlantic, Glamour, Newsweek and The Daily Beast. She is the former vice president of the Overseas Press Club of America. Her writing appears in the Wall Street Journal anthology of front-page feature articles, "Dogfight at the Pentagon."

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.


"The Girls" is a deeply reported book that reveals -- through exclusive reporting and extensive, first-time interviews with a quarter-century of survivors of sexual abuse -- how the former Olympic doctor Larry Nassar, the most prolific sex criminal in sports history, hunted his prey for decades, until the young women joined together and jailed him for life. The publication of "The Girls" attracted tremendous press attention in light of the book's revelatory findings. Read press coverage and excerpts describing the book's exclusive reporting as published in Time, The Guardian, Deadspin and The Daily Beast.

Abigail Pesta | ''The Girls''

"The Girls is probably the most thorough account of this case."
~ Dr. Phil

"Pesta's empathy for these girls and women is palpable, and powerful."
~ Los Angeles Times

"This may be the most important sports title of the year."
~ Library Journal (starred review)

"Abigail Pesta's new book lends an essential platform to the voices
of the brave women who brought down predator Larry Nassar."

~ Gloria Steinem

"A shocking and ultimately inspiring chronicle of what Nassar's survivors endured."
~ Salon

"A powerful addition to the nationwide conversations and reckonings happening around sexual abuse."
~ Ms. Magazine

"They have reclaimed control of their lives from a predator
who is destined to die in prison. The Girls is their story of courage."

~ New York Journal of Books


"How Dare the Sun Rise" tells 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.

Sandra Uwiringiyimana with Abigail Pesta | ''How Dare the Sun Rise''

"This gut-wrenching, poetic memoir reminds us
that no life story can be reduced to the word 'refugee.'"

~ The New York Times

"A critical piece of literature, contributing to the larger
refugee narrative in a way that is complex and nuanced but still accessible."

~ School Library Journal (starred review)

A "remarkable memoir."
~ The Washington Post

"As America's doors threaten to shut against refugees, this memoir could not be timelier."
~ Booklist

"This hard-hitting autobiography will have readers reeling
as it shows one young woman's challenging path to healing."

~ Kirkus Reviews

"Gripping and timely."
~ Publishers Weekly


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 anthology "Dogfight at the Pentagon."

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, an Occupy Wall Street protester in jail and the first known survivor of predator Larry Nassar's sexual abuse. 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 and sexual harassment on Wall Street; 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 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, forced marriage, the "womb wars," a jihadi who fled Syria and de-radicalized herself in Texas and a reverend who learned to forgive the man who killed her mother in church.

Abigail Pesta | Author | The Girls | How Dare the Sun Rise
Abigail Pesta

She profiled a woman who outsmarted a fraudster husband, a New Yorker who saved two young Russian women from being forced into sexual slavery on Coney Island, two long-lost sisters reunited after four decades thanks to a mysterious "search angel" and Sandy Phillips, a mother who sued the gun dealer who armed her daughter's killer. Abby has interviewed a wide range of newsmakers including Michelle Obama, Melinda Gates, Reese Witherspoon, Gabrielle Union, jazz phenom Esperanza Spalding, designer Donatella Versace, Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Jessica Lynch, the young American soldier who was taken captive in Iraq.


Abby has received honors including three New York Press Club Awards for magazine feature reporting, four National Headliner Awards for magazine reporting, six 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 Deadline Club Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for magazine feature writing, a Sigma Delta Chi Award from the Society of Professional Journalists for magazine feature writing, a PASS Award from the National Council on Crime & Delinquency for magazine reporting, four Clarion Awards from the Association for Women in Communications, three FOLIO Eddie Awards 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, ABC News, the BBC, MSNBC, CNBC, Investigation Discovery, People Magazine TV and Daily Beast TV, among others.

Selected video and audio clips:

The Women Who Brought Down Larry Nassar: Dr. Phil talks with Abigail Pesta about the brave women in her book "The Girls," in an episode based on the book.

A Phenomenal Journey: Abigail Pesta and Sandra Uwiringiyimana discuss Sandra's life story as recounted in the memoir "How Dare the Sun Rise."

Abigail Pesta
Sandra Uwiringiyimana, Abigail Pesta

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: Scroll down for a clip of Abigail Pesta on air in a "48 Hours" television feature based on her profile of a young woman killed by her father.


Abigail Pesta is represented by Lynn Johnston Literary.

abigail | at | abigailpesta | dot | com

Twitter: @abigailpesta


Copyright 2007-2020 Abby Pesta, all rights reserved.

Portrait by Jesse Pesta.