Allyn Gaestel

Allyn Gaestel is a writer. Her home is in Lagos, Nigeria. She works internationally.

She has been published in print and online at The New YorkerThe New York Times, Guernica, The Berlin Quarterly, The Atavist, The Common, Nataal, The Atlantic, The Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, The Washington Post, The Christian Science Monitor, CNN, Reuters,  France 24, Intense Art Magazine, Moon Man Magazine, etc.

Since moving to Lagos in 2015 her writing has grown more conceptual and lyric. She is also involved in the flourishing art scene.


Born in Los Angeles, Allyn first lived in Mali in 2007. She started her career as a United Nations Correspondent in New York, then lived in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake, where she documented the failures of the aid response, the onset of the world’s largest cholera epidemic, and the first post-earthquake elections for the Los Angeles Times, The Atlantic, Reuters, CNN and many other outlets. She continued returning on reporting trips to cover ongoing human rights issues in the country, and worked internationally on in-depth reportage projects.

She has worked in The Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Nigeria, Senegal, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Mali, Mauritania, Togo, China, India, Nepal, France, Mexico, The US, The Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.

She also makes art photographs and has exhibited internationally including at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Liepzig, Germany,  Espaco Saracura in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and The Treehouse in Lagos, Nigeria.

She has reported and field produced documentary and conceptual art videos, including an award-winning short  for the New York Times.


She won the Stack Magazine Award for Best Original Non-Fiction in 2018 for Versage. She was shortlisted for the same award for Associations d’Élégance in 2019. She was longlisted for the One World Media Popular Feature Award in 2019 for Things Fall Apart. In 2015 she was named one of the top journalists working on women’s health in the world by Women Deliver and a top journalist on aid and development by Humanosphere.

She has earned grants and fellowships from The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, The International Reporting Project, The International Women’s Media Foundation, the Fund for Investigative Journalism, The Carter Center, The Kaiser Family Foundation, the United Nations Foundation, the National Press Foundation, The Fuller Project for International Reporting, The Institute of Current World Affairs, The Heinrich Boll Foundation and the William Penn Foundation.

She has been awarded writing residencies for 2020 at PlayaUcross Foundation and Est-Nord-Est Art Residency.