Daniel Handler


Daniel Handler is the author of the literary novels The Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth, and, most recently, Adverbs. Under the name Lemony Snicket he has also written a sequence of books for children, known collectively as A Series of Unfortunate Events, which have sold more than 60 million copies and were the basis of a feature film. His intricate and witty writing style has won him numerous fans for his critically-acclaimed literary work and his wildly successful children’s books.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Handler attended Wesleyan University and returned to his hometown after graduating. He co-founded the magazine American Chickens! with illustrator Lisa Brown (with whom he soon became smitten), and they moved to New York City, where Handler eventually sold his first novel after working as a book and film critic for several newspapers. He continued to write, and he and his wife returned to San Francisco, where they now live.

Handler has worked intermittently in film and music, most recently in collaboration with composer Nathaniel Stookey on a piece commissioned by the San Francisco Symphony, entitled The Composer Is Dead, which has been performed all over the world and is now a book with CD. An adjunct accordionist for the music group The Magnetic Fields, he is also the author of Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography, The Beatrice Letters, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid, and two books for Christmas: The Lump of Coal and The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: a Christmas Story. He is the screenwriter of the film Rick, a revamp of the Verdi opera Rigoletto, and the film adaptation of Joel Rose’s novel Kill the Poor, and has written for The New York Times, Newsday, San Francisco Chronicle, The Believer, Chickfactor, and various anthologies, and was the chair of the Judging Panel for the National Book Awards in Young People’s Literature, 2008. Most recently he has collaborated with illustrator Maira Kalman on two books – a picture book titled 13 Words, and a novel for young adults called Why We Broke Up. Writing as Lemony Snicket he recently contributed a commentary in the New American Haggadah. As Lemony Snicket he is also working on a new series for children, the first book of which, Who Could That Be at This Hour? was released in October 2012.  A picture book, The Dark, is to be published in spring 2013. He is also working on a fourth novel for adults.

“Daniel Handler [is] something like an American Nabokov.”
—   Dave Eggers

“One of our most dazzling literary conjurers shuffles the deck of contemporary consciousness and desire.”
—   Michael Chabon

“Sentence by sentence, Handler dazzles, teases the unwary with unforeseeable perceptions.”
San Francisco Chronicle

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Before You Were Funny
Saturday, January 25th, 3pm, The Dark Room