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Author photo of Sandy Ernest Allen, a white trans guy in his thirties, outdoors in this photo, smiling and looking to the side, wearing a short-sleeved jean jumpsuit, with longish blondish hair and a tattoo of blackberries on his left sleeve

Photo credit: Louie Tomás

Sandy Ernest Allen (he/they) is a journalist and author. He is queer, nonbinary and trans. His work tends to focus on gender and mental health. His debut book is a work of reported literary nonfiction called A Kind of Mirraculas Paradise: A True Story about Schizophrenia (Scribner). The book received critical acclaim, including being long-listed as a top work of journalism of the decade by NYU's journalism school. Sandy has written for many publications, such as Esquire, The Cut, Bon Appétit's Healthyish, Guernica, Lit Hub, CNN Opinion, Them (a column called "Between the Binary") and the late BuzzFeed News, where he was once a longform editor.


Sandy has appeared on This American Life (most recently in a story about his singing voice and Testosterone) and he's produced stories for 99% Invisible about historical asylums and the future of bathrooms. He co-created and hosted the pop culture and mental health-focused podcast Mad Chat, which was praised by The New York Times. Sandy has been a guest on other podcasts like TED's How to Be a Better Human and Slate's Dear Prudence. He has received various awards and honors, including a residency at MacDowell. His work has been optioned for television and he's been hired to adapt nonfiction IP.

Sandy is originally from a small beach town in Northern California. He studied nonfiction writing at Brown University and the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program (MFA '12). Today he lives in the Catskills, where he's often found in his garden, or at the piano, or baking bread. He's writing his next book, a sequel of sorts to the first, as well as other projects for the stage and screen. Though no longer on social media, he writes a newsletter called What's Helping Today.

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