Lemony Snicket, aka novelist Daniel Handler, attempts to chart a course from the troubling questions of his childhood to the literary success of his adult life during a free talk Sept. 25 at the Helena Civic Center.
How do the questions that haunt us as children lead us into our supposed adulthood? Mr. Handler will either answer this question or explain why he can’t during his presentation, “Lemony Snicket’s Bewildering Circumstances.”
His talk begins at 7 p.m. Books will be for sale at the event through Montana Book & Toy Company and a signing will follow. For more information, contact the Lewis & Clark Library at 447-1690 or www.lclibrary.org.
Daniel Handler’s strange and brilliant offerings
Daniel Handler’s previous novel for adults is We Are Pirates, which Bloomsbury published in 2016, and Neil Gaiman says is, “Honest and funny, dark and painful. We Are Pirates reads like the result of a nightmarish mating experiment between Joseph Heller and Captain Jack Sparrow. It’s the strangest, most brilliant offering yet from the mind behind Lemony Snicket.”
Handler is also the author of the novels The Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth, Adverbs, and, with Maira Kalman, Why We Broke Up, which won the Michael J. Printz Honor. He also worked with Kalman on the book Girls Standing on Lawns and Hurry Up and Wait (May 2015).
Handler also edited The Best Nonrequired Reading of 2014, which includes an introduction by Lemony Snicket.
Lemony Snicket’s creations
As Lemony Snicket, he has written the best-selling series All The Wrong Questions as well as A Series of Unfortunate Events, which has sold more than 60 million copies, was the basis of a feature film starring Jim Carrey and Meryl Streep, with Jude Law as Lemony Snicket. In 2014, Netflix acquired rights to produce an original series based on A Series of Unfortunate Events.
Snicket is also the creator of several picture books, including the Charlotte Zolotow Award-winning The Dark, illustrated by Jon Klassen. His newest picture book is 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy, illustrated by his wife, Lisa Brown.
Other Snicket titles include the picture book 13 Words, in collaboration with Maira Kalman, as well as Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Biography, 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 currently working on the final book in the All the Wrong Questions series; Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights?
“All I have ever wanted was to be in the company of literature”
In a recent interview with PEN American Center, he said, “My parents claim that when I was six years old I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, and my answer was that I wanted to be an old man who lived at the top of a mountain giving advice. If this story is true –and my parents are unreliable narrators – then there was a time in my life when I did not want to be a writer.
“But I do not remember such a time. I do not remember a time when I was not writing things down. I do not remember a time when I was reading without thinking of how I could poach the tricks of my favorite writers. All I have ever wanted was to be in the company of literature.”
Handler recently established, in partnership with the American Library Association, the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced With Adversity. He works extensively in music, serving as the adjunct accordionist for the music group The Magnetic Fields and collaborating with composer Nathaniel Stookey on a piece commissioned and recorded by the San Francisco Symphony, titled “The Composer Is Dead,” which has been performed all over the world and is now a book with CD.
He is currently at work on a commission from the Royal Shakespeare Company on a stage musical in collaboration with songwriter Stephin Merritt.
He is a graduate of Wesleyan University, and lives in his native San Francisco with his wife, illustrator Lisa Brown, and their son.