Biography of David Oliver Relin

Born in Rochester, New York in 1962, David Oliver Relin was a journalist best known for co-authoring Three Cups of Tea with Greg Mortenson.

Relin attended Vassar College, graduating in 1985. After graduation, he traveled by bicycle through Vietnam on a Michener Fellowship in 1992. He then spent two years living in Vietnam, writing about the country's economic development and his own travels.

After returning from Asia, Relin wrote for several major publications, including Parade. He was a contributing editor for Parade and Skiing magazines. He won more than 40 awards for his journalism.

In 2006, Relin collaborated with Greg Mortenson to write Three Cups of Tea. The book was Mortenson's memoir, but Relin performed the bulk of writing and it is written from his perspective. Relin noted in his preface that he supported Mortenson's work, which skewed his story away from objectivity. However, he maintained it was factually correct, as far as was reported to him by Mortenson. The book won the Kiriyama Prize, among other accolades.

In 2011, a series of allegations emerged regarding the accuracy of the book. Mortenson accused Relin of changing some details of his own story to make it more compelling. The relationship between Mortenson and Relin became strained; during the process of writing the book, Mortenson was often in Pakistan and difficult to reach. As Relin's work was called into question, he suffered emotionally and faced financial troubles. He committed suicide in November 2012.

Study Guides on Works by David Oliver Relin