David Oliver Relin

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David Oliver Relin
David Oliver Relin.jpg
Born December 12, 1962 (1962-12-12)
Rochester, New York
Died November 15, 2012 (2012-11-16) (aged 49)
Multnomah County, Oregon
Cause of death
Nationality American
Alma mater Vassar College '85
Occupation writer, magazine editor
Agent Jin Auh
Known for co-author of Three Cups of Tea
Spouse(s) Dawn Relin
Awards Michener Fellowship
Kiriyama Prize

David Oliver Relin (December 12, 1962 – November 15, 2012)[1] was an American journalist and the co-author of the New York Times bestselling book, Three Cups of Tea, published in 2006.[2] Relin co-wrote the book with Greg Mortenson.[1][2] The book gives Mortenson's account of his transition from registered nurse and mountain-climber to humanitarian committed to reducing poverty and promoting education for girls in Pakistan and Afghanistan.[1][2][3]

In addition to Three Cups of Tea, Relin was a contributing editor for Parade and Skiing magazines. He won more than forty national awards for his work as a writer and editor, including the Kiriyama Prize.[4]

Personal and professional life[edit]

Relin was born in Rochester, New York and graduated from Vassar College. After being awarded a Michener Fellowship to support a 1992 bicycle trip through Vietnam in 1992, he spent two years in Huế writing about the country opening itself up to the world economically and educationally. Relin traveled to and reported from numerous countries in East Asia.[5]

A significant portion of Relin's writing focused on social issues and on children. Along with being a contributing editor for Parade Magazine and Skiing Magazine, Relin had also been a senior news editor for React, another newsmagazine publication of Parade. He also wrote investigative feature articles on school shootings, ecstasy abuse, and teenagers in prison for Teen People. His articles for Teen People enabled that publication to win the National Magazine Award for General Excellence.[5] Before his death, Relin had completed work on a new book, about two doctors working to cure cataract-related blindness in the developing world.[1] The book, Second Suns: Two Doctors and Their Amazing Quest to Restore Sight and Save Lives, was published posthumously.[6]


According to his family, Relin had been diagnosed with depression.[1][2] His New York Times obituary reported that he suffered emotionally and financially when basic facts in Three Cups of Tea were called into question.[1] He committed suicide at age 49 on November 15, 2012, survived by his wife, mother, stepfather, and two sisters.[1][2]