Austin Merrill is a writer and editor based in New York. His writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, The New Republic, Wired, The New York Observer, Tin House, Good and other publications. Projects have included a piece about the Ivory Coast national soccer team's efforts to end the Ivorian civil war; a story about U.S. Army Rangers training West African soldiers in counter-terrorism tactics in Timbuktu, Mali; a feature on efforts to eradicate Guinea Worm disease in northern Ghana; and reporting from Angola and South Africa for the Vanity Fair blog on the 2010 World Cup.
Austin's introduction to Africa was as a Peace Corps volunteer in Ivory Coast, where he worked as a rural water and sanitation engineer. He later returned to Ivory Coast and was based in Abidjan, the economic capital, as a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press. While with the AP he covered the Ivorian civil war as well as politics and culture in Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and elsewhere.