About the Author
As of April 2008, Three Cups of Tea has been a New York Times bestseller for over 58 weeks, selling over 1 million copies. Three Cups of Tea has received the following literary awards:
• Kiriyama Prize - Nonfiction Award
• Time Magazine - Asia Book of The Year
• Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association - Nonfiction Award
• Borders Bookstore - Original Voices Selection
• Banff Mountain Festival - Book Award Finalist
• Montana Honor Book Award
• Dayton Literary Peace Prize (nonfiction) – Runner Up
Mortenson’s message of promoting peace through education and literacy (especially for girls) has been highly sought out since the publication of Three Cups of Tea. Since 2006, he has visited over two hundred cities, speaking to sell-out crowds from 1-5,000 across America, and including diverse groups such as the Pentagon, Air Force and Naval Academy, Capital Hill, think tanks, book clubs, women’s groups, churches, mosques, synagogues, and other places of worship, outdoor groups, civic groups, the American Library Association keynote, AAUW keynote, Epilepsy foundations, medical, education and literacy conferences, and more.
His work has not been without difficulty. In 1996, he survived an eight day armed kidnapping by the Taliban, in the Northwest Frontier Province NWFP tribal areas of Pakistan, escaped a 2003 firefight with feuding Afghan warlords by hiding for eight hours under putrid animal hides in a truck going to a leather-tanning factory.
He has overcome two fatwehs from enraged Islamic mullahs for educating girls, endured CIA investigations, and also received hate mail and death threats from fellow Americans after 9/11, for his work to help Muslim children with education.
Mortenson is a living hero to rural communities of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where he has gained the trust of Islamic leaders, military commanders, government officials and tribal chiefs from his tireless effort to champion education, especially for girls.
He is one of few foreigners who has worked extensively for fifteen years (spending over 68 months) in the region now considered the front lines of the war on terror.