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Daniel Handler

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For the character, see Lemony Snicket.
Daniel Handler (born February 28, 1970 in San Francisco, CA) is an American author, screenwriter, and accordionist. He is best known for his work under the pen name Lemony Snicket.
Daniel Handler

Handler at a party celebrating the publication of The End on October 12, 2006, a day before its release.

Personal life

Handler was born in San Francisco, California, the son of Sandra Handler Day (née Walpole), an opera singer and retired City College of San Francisco Dean, and Lou Handler, an accountant.[1] His father was a Jewish refugee from Germany, and his mother is distantly related to British writer Hugh Walpole.[2][3] Handler has a younger sister, Rebecca Handler.

Growing up, Snicket hated books that were overly sappy, preferring writers such as Roald Dahl and Edward Gorey. He attended Commodore Sloat Elementary, Herbert Hoover Middle School and Lowell High School, where he graduated with the Valedictorian title. Handler attended Wesleyan University, where he began writing poetry. In 1990, Handler won the Poets Prize from the Academy of American Poets, then graduated from Wesleyan in 1992. Soon after, he won an Owin Fellowship and used the prize money to fund his first novel, The Basic Eight.[4] He is an alumnus of the San Francisco Boys Chorus. After college, Handler moved to New York to work as a freelance book and movie critic.

Handler is married to Lisa Brown, a graphic designer whom he met in college. They have a son, Otto, born in 2003, now 12-13 and live in an old Victorian house in San Francisco.

Handler is politically active and helped form LitPAC. He has revealed ambivalence toward his wealth, and the expectations it creates, stating that he is often asked for money for charitable causes, and often gives in.[5] In an interview conducted by the 667 Dark Avenue fan site, Daniel Handler gave his personal philosophy as "Never refuse a breath mint".[6]

Although Handler has a partially Jewish background and considers C. S. Lewis to be an influence, he describes himself as a secular humanist.[7] In addition, he says, "I'm not a believer in predetermined fates, being rewarded for one's efforts. I'm not a believer in karma. The reason why I try to be a good person is because I think it's the right thing to do. If I commit fewer bad acts there will be fewer bad acts, maybe other people will join in committing fewer bad acts, and in time there will be fewer and fewer of them."[8]

Professional work


Three of his novels have been published under his name. His first, The Basic Eight, was rejected 37 times before published for its subject matter and tone (a dark view of a teenage girl's life). The book's tone served as an impetus of sorts for the Lemony Snicket works, A Series of Unfortunate Events.

Watch Your Mouth, his second novel, was actually completed before The Basic Eight was published. It follows a more operatic theme, complete with stage directions and various acts. Described by HarperCollins, the book's reprint publisher, as an "incest opera," it mixes Jewish mythology with modern sexuality. The second half of Watch Your Mouth replaces the opera troupe with the form of a 12-step recovery, linguistically undergone by the protagonist.

Adverbs, a series of short stories that he says are "about love," was published in April 2006. His most recent effort under his own name is Why We Broke Up, published in 2011.

Handler has stated that he is working on an adult novel about pirates–or, more specifically, a modern-age pirate who "wants to be an old-fashioned kind of pirate."[9] This novel was released as We Are Pirates in 2015.

His next novel under his own name, All The Dirty Parts, is aimed a young adult audience and revolves around the sexual appearances of a male high school senior. It will be released in late 2017.

Lemony Snicket

Handler originally came up with "Lemony Snicket" as a pseudonym to use, rather than placing his real name on the mailing lists of several right-wing organizations he was researching for one of his novels. It became something of an in-joke with his friends, who were known to order pizzas under the name. When he found himself writing a series of children's books, he decided to use the Snicket name to add an air of mystery to proceedings. And so, Lemony Snicket was born.

Handler began writing A Series of Unfortunate Events under the Snicket pseudonym in 1999. The books concern three orphaned children who experience progressively terrible events following the alleged death of their parents and burning of their home, and Snicket acts as the narrator and biographer of the fictional orphans.The three orphans were taken into care by a distant reletive by the name of Count Olaf. He treated the orphans horribly. He has also narrated the audiobooks for three consecutive books in the series, before deciding to quit because he found it too difficult, handing back the narrating job to the original narrator, Tim Curry.

Handler has also appeared at author appearances as "Lemony Snicket's handler," as well as appearing as Snicket himself in various other books and media, including the commentary track for the film version of his books, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events. He also wrote an introduction to Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography under his own name.

Handler has also written some short fiction and picture books under the Lemony Snicket pseudonym. This presumably makes them canon in the Series of Unfortunate Events universe.

List of Works


Editor or Contributor:


Handler was in two bands following college, The Edith Head Trio and Tzamboni, but it wasn't until 69 Love Songs, a three-album set by The Magnetic Fields for which he played accordion, that his music attracted attention. In the box set of the project, Handler provides a lengthy interview with Stephin Merritt about the project, as well as conversations about each song. Handler also appears in the 2009 documentary Strange Powers, by Kathy Fix and Gail O'Hara, about Merritt and his band, the Magnetic Fields.

He has gone on to play accordion in several other Merritt projects, including music by The Magnetic Fields, The 6ths and The Gothic Archies, the last of which provided songs for the audiobook versions of the A Series of Unfortunate Events. On October 10, 2006, The Tragic Treasury was released with all thirteen songs from the thirteen audiobooks in A Series of Unfortunate Events, along with two bonus songs.

In the audio commentary to Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Handler plays a song about how depressing it is to have leeches in a film.

Daniel Handler wrote the lyrics to the song "Radio," performed by One Ring Zero, and the lyrics to "The Gibbons Girl," performed by Chris Ewen.

List of Works


Handler has also had some success in film work. He produced the screenplay for Rick, which was based on the Verdi opera Rigoletto, as well as Kill the Poor, which was based on the novel by Joel Rose.

Handler was involved in the screenwriting process for Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, but was ultimately removed from the project. He had completed eight separate drafts of the film before giving up following a change in those who were producing the film. Robert Gordon was hired to replace Handler and eventually received credit for the film's screenplay, under Handler's request.

Handler did submit a commentary track for the DVD version of the movie, alongside director Brad Silberling. In character as Lemony Snicket, he derides the Lemony Snicket in the film–played by Jude Law–as an impostor, as well as choosing to play accordion and sing about leeches rather than pay attention to the film. At numerous times during the track he shows great sympathy towards the Baudelaire children, and implies that he is being held captive by the director in order to do the commentary.

List of Works


  • Surprisingly, Handler has provided evidence to suggest that he, as Handler rather than Snicket, has a role in the fictional continuity of A Series of Unfortunate Events. In The Unauthorised Autobiography, a member of V.F.D. known only as 'D.' is asked if he is 'here representing L.' (i.e. Lemony Snicket), presumably a reference to the way Handler portrays himself as the 'personal representative' of Snicket.



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