There be monsters.

The very essence of a good girl found in a New York basement.

The magic unsharpened pencil. Daniel keeps them everywhere. They absorb nervous energy, focus thinking, provide rhythm.

The is 'The Shelf,' where Handler puts books to study while he is "Grasping at the hem of an idea" for his next book. There are plays by at least a dozen different playwrights (and Great Sanskrit Plays), a book on Louis L'Amour and others on Churchill, and many more. I can hardly wait for the next book to see what this puzzle brings!

Bathroom art. That's where I keep my first aid stuff too!

Books are everywhere. Many book-souls here – Michael Chabon, Hilary Mantel, Peter Nadas, Denis Johnson, Dave Eggers, Karl . . .

A photograph of Daniel's grandfather on the bookcase.

Dining room art. The bust is of a long-time family friend.

'To Daniel, Love Jon' hangs near the fireplace.

This greets you as you come up the stairs to the living room.

This hangs over the mantle in the living room. Enough said.
Interview Movie
(Embedded version below)

Audio File
(Note: To download the podcast,
right click on the link if you are on a PC,
control click if you are on a Mac. )


San Francisco, CA

Run Time:



Adult Fiction, Children's, Plays, Poetry



San Francisco, CA

Youthful Influence:

Edward Gorey, Roald Dahl. Professor Kit Reid.

Favorite Authors:

Haruki Murakami, Carson McCullers, Vladimir Nabokov, Rachel Ingalls, Virginia Woolf. Poetry: Eliza Bishop, John Berryman, Adrienne Rich.

Creative Habit:

Has coffee, gets his son off to school, then writes until 3 or 4 p.m., when he feels he is done for the day. He writes ideas in notebooks, types up the notes in small chunks and tapes them to 3x5 cards so he can arrange and re-arrange them. When he is through with that, he moves on to a yellow legal pad with a combination of hand-writing and taped cards, and then back to the computer. He says, "There is such beauty in writing by hand."

When Salli says this is the interview that kept her laughing most, you can count on the fact that you’re in for a good time watching this humorous chat with our 47th writer.

Handler is a writer. A prolific writer. And in this interview he explains why: he says that asking him when he knew he was going to be a writer is like asking him when he decided he could sleep in a bed. He never wanted to do anything but write. He was always interested in what was 'under the hood' of a work, how the writer cast the spell of the story, and then how to do it himself.

He has published five books for adults (one of which is a play), four books for young people, two films and numbers of poems. He writes a

column ("What the Swedes Read" for The Believer Magazine), makes music, does interviews, edits, and is generally active in the literary world as well as in the broader community.

Lemony Snicket (a pseudonym Handler created while doing research for The Basic Eight when he didn't want to turn up on mailing lists for organizations he found offensive or strange) has published nearly 30 books for young people (one of which is a musical that is being performed internationally). Writing and telling stories is the thing he loves to do most, and in this animated and spirited interview you’ll see Handler share some of his insights, as well as tell a few zappers that Lemony Snicket would likely share if Lemony Snicket had been there.

We are grateful that Mr. Handler made time for us during his tour for We Are Pirates. He is kinetic, creative, funny and smart. What else would you expect?


Adult Fiction
The Basic Eight – 1998
Watch Your Mouth – 2000
How to Dress for Every Occasion by the Pope (
w/ Sarah "Pinkie" Bennett) – 2005
Adverbs – 2006
We Are Pirates – 2015

Childrens', Middle Grade, YA
The Baby in the Manger (w/Lisa Brown)– 2002
Why We Broke Up – 2011
Girls Standing on Lawns (w/ Maira Kalman) – 2014
Hurry Up and Wait (w/Maira Kalman) – 2015

Lemony Snicket: Childrens', Middle Grade

A Series of Unfortunate Events (13 novels) – 1998-2006
The Unauthorized Autobiography – 2002
The Dismal Dinner – 2004
The Beatrice Letters – 2006
13 Shocking Secrets You'll Wish You Never Knew About Lemony Snicket– 2006
Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can't Avoid – 2007
The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming
– 2007
The Lump of Coal
– 2008
The Composer is Dead
(w/Nathaniel Stookey– 2009
13 Words
(w/Maira Kalman) – 2010
All the Wrong Questions (4 novels) – 2012-2015
The Dark (w/John Klassen) – 2013
29 Myths on the Swinster Pharmacy (w/Lisa Brown) – 2014

Rick – 2003
Kill the Poor – 2003
(Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events was made into a film in 2004–It has also become a game and a video game.)

Handler is also Executive Producer of the series for Netflix/Paramount TV: A Series of Unfortunate Events. (Announced in 2014.)

Awards & Honors:
Academy of American Poets Prize – 1992
Wesleyan University's Olin Fellowship – 1992-1993
Three International Reading Association/Children's Book Council (IRA-CBC) Children's Choice Awards – 2000, 2001, 2002
Kids’ Choice Award for Favorite Book – 2003
Colorado Children's Book Award – 2003
Nevada Young Readers Award – 2003
Nene Award (Hawaii) –2003
Quill Award for The Penultimate Peril – 2006 (Lemony Snicket)

Michael L. Printz Honor Award, Why We Broke Up – 2012
Charlotte Zolotow Award, The Dark – 2013 (Lemony Snicket)

Handler also established the 'Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity,' in cooperation with the American Library Association. It was first awarded in 2014.

Does Daniel Handler transform into Lemony Snicket? It is allegedly so . . .
"Go find your favorite thing, then re-read it a million times until you figure out how they are doing it."

Daniel Handler: Adult Fiction, Children, Middle Grade, YA

Daniel's big black chair and what looks like Edward Gorey's boot.


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