On this date in 1970, Daniel Handler was born in San Francisco, Calif. Handler graduated from Wesleyan University in 1992. His first novel, The Basic Eight, was published in 1999. Handler is best known for his writing under the pen name Lemony Snicket, most notably the 13-book children’s series, “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” In these books, Snicket is slowly revealed to be not only a pen name but an important character in the fictional world Handler created. The three protagonists of the series are orphans who live in a fictional world where they must continually battle against adversity and the efforts of various villains to steal their fortune. The first book of the bestselling series, The Bad Beginning, was published in 1999, and the last, The End, in 2006. During this time, Handler made many personal appearances and gave several interviews as Lemony Snicket’s personal assistant, claiming that Mr. Snicket had been unable to appear at the last minute. Since the conclusion of the series, Handler has written picture books and short stories under the name “Lemony Snicket.” He also continues to write for adults under his own name, writing the novels, Watch Your Mouth (2000) and Why We Broke Up (2011). Handler has also worked as a screenwriter and was involvedin the production of the 2004 film adaptation of the beginning of the series, “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events.” Handler lives with his wife, Lisa Brown, in San Francisco. They have one son, Otto Handler. Handler’s heritage is Jewish, but he describes himself as a secular humanist. He does, however, draw on his Jewish experience in the Christmas/Hannukah book, The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming (2007).
“The [Series of Unfortunate Events] books have drawn the ire and praise of fundamentalist Christians, some of whom believe the books to be Christian allegories and some of whom believe them to be long insults against Christianity. The thing is, the books are really neither.”
—Daniel Handler to CNN.com,
Compiled by Eleanor Wroblewski
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