Daniel Handler is the author of the novels The Basic Eight, Watch Your Mouth, Adverbs, We Are Pirates, All the Dirty Parts and Bottle Grove. He worked with Maira Kalman on the books Girls Standing on Lawns, Hurry Up and Wait, Weather Weather, and Why We Broke Up which won the Michael J. Printz Honor. Handler also edited The Best Nonrequired Reading of 2014, which includes an introduction by Lemony Snicket. His next book will be a memoir titled And Then? And Then? What Else? (Liveright, May 21, 2024).
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. A Series of Unfortunate Events was the basis of a 2004 feature film starring Jim Carrey and Meryl Streep, with Jude Law as Lemony Snicket. In 2017 Netflix produced a critically acclaimed, Peabody Award-winning, series based on A Series of Unfortunate Events, starring Neil Patrick Harris.
Snicket is also the creator of several picture books, including the Charlotte Zolotow Award-winning The Dark, illustrated by Jon Klassen. Other Snicket titles include the picture books 13 Words, in collaboration with Maira Kalman, 29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy, The Goldfish Ghost, both illustrated by Lisa Brown, The Bad Mood and the Stick with art by Matthew Forsythe, Swarm of Bees with Rilla Alexander, and two books for Christmas: The Lump of Coal and The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: a Christmas Story. His other Snicket books include; Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Biography, The Beatrice Letters, Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid, Read Something Else: Collected & Dubious Wit & Wisdom of Lemony Snicket, and Poison for Breakfast. Snickett also annotated an edition of Carlo Collodi’s Pinocchio with illustrations by Mike Mignola (Beehive Books, December 2023).
Daniel Handler's criticism has appeared in The New York Times, Newsday, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Believer, where he has a column exploring the Nobel Prize in Literature titled “What The Swedes Read.” He wrote the inaugural dispatch for the Wall Street Journal’s monthly feature on literary cocktails, “Message in a Bottle,” and the foreword for Tin House’s reissue of Bernard DeVoto’s The Hour. Handler has worked as a screenwriter on the adaptation of A Series Of Unfortunate Events, as well as the independent films Rick, based on Verdi’s opera, Rigoletto, and Kill The Poor. He is currently set to pen a contemporary horror film based on the Golem legend from Jewish folklore for Ben Cosgrove and Josh Foer’s Leviathan Productions. His play for adults, Imaginary Comforts, or The Story of the Ghost of the Dead Rabbit, premiered at Berkeley Rep in October 2017.
In an 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 established, in partnership with the American Library Association, the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced With Adversity. He hosted the National Book Awards in November 2014 in New York.
Handler 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, entitled "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.
Photo Meredith Heuer