Jørn Riel was born in Odense on July 23rd 1931. He was trained as a telegraph operator and navigator and participated in the Lauge Koch expedition in 1951-1953. From 1953 he was stationed in Northeast Greenland for 10 years.
As a UN observer Jørn Riel has traveled widely and lived in many places in the world, including Pakistan, Canada and Malaysia.
In 1995 Jørn Riel was awarded The Golden Laurel and in 2010 he received a major recognition in the form of Grand Prize of the Danish Academy.
In 1970 Jørn Riel had his debut as an author with the novel A Tale from which you get a beautiful face, which is the first volume in the trilogy My father's house. Many of his publications are based in the Arctic or Greenland. In addition to his humorous tales, Jørn Riel has written several collections of short stories and tales of destiny.
One of Jørn Riel's greatest achievements as a writer is perhaps the trilogy The song of life which appeared in the years 1983-1985.