Daniel Handler

On this date in 1970, Daniel Handler was born in San Francisco. His father was a Jewish refugee from Germany. Handler graduated in 1992 from Wesleyan University, where he met graphic artist Lisa Brown, his future wife. 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-volume A Series of Unfortunate Events. In these children’s 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 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, 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 Snicket name. He also continues to write for adults under his own name, including the novels Watch Your Mouth (2000) and Why We Broke Up (2011). Handler has also worked as a screenwriter and was involved in the production of the 2004 film adaptation of the beginning of the series.

Handler describes himself as a secular humanist. He drew on his Jewish heritage in the winter holiday book The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming (2007).

PHOTO: Handler in 2009 at a book signing; Aaron Gustafson photo under CC 2.0.

Freedom From Religion Foundation