Daniel Handler is an American novelist best known for his young adult series of novels written under the Lemony Snicket pen name. Born in 1970 in San Francisco to a retired College Dean and an accountant, Handler started reading at a young.
He initially took an interest in poetry. A former student at Lowell High School, by the time he left Wesleyan University, Handler had earned the Poets Prize (Academy of American poets). His foray into the fiction arena wasn’t quite as successful, at least not immediately.
In the beginning, Handler had no idea that his fortune would come from writing young adult fantasy. ‘The Basic Eight’ was his first published novel but it wasn’t the first novel he wrote. Handler’s initial attempt at writing a novel ended poorly.
He actually completed the novel. But then he discarded it, choosing, instead, to go back to his hometown. The author found work as a writer on a radio program. It was during this time that he wrote ‘The Basic Eight’. Life drew him to New York.
He tried to get ‘The Basic Eight’ published but Handler was met with rejection. To survive, he critiqued movies and manuscripts. The rejections, which were numerous, irked Handler. His manuscript dealt with a student who had bludgeoned a classmate to death.
For a story with young characters, publishers thought that the subject matter was too dark. They also failed to appreciate the author’s sarcastic tone. Meanwhile, Handler watched as other novels for your readers, books featuring fantasy themes succeeded.
Handler had no interest in mimicking his colleagues in the field. The type of young adult fantasy the publishing industry was pushing had never appealed to him even as a much younger man. Fortunately, in 1999, he got his lucky break.
‘The Basic Eight’ was finally published. It received mixed reviews, justifying some of the concerns earlier publishers had expressed. ‘Watch Your Mouth’. Daniel Handler’s second book, was equally controversial, winning a few readers over but also alienating others.
The Lemony Snicket books came about when Handler was challenged to produce fiction that he might have enjoyed as a young reader. The author had invented the name (Lemony Snicket) years earlier for a different project. He decided to publish the first book in ‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ under the pseudonym. He also assigned the name to the narrator of the stories in his books.
Even though he wrote them for younger readers, the series garnered a lot of interest from audiences of all ages.
Daniel Handler Awards
The novelist has won the Michael L. Printz Honor Award and the Connecticut Student Poet Prize.
Daniel Handler Books into Movies
‘A Series of Unfortunate Events’ became a live-action movie in 2004. In 2017, Netflix produced a television series. Handler was initially involved in the movie adaptation, at least in the writing phase. But he was eventually replaced.
He played a more active role in the production of the TV show.
Best Daniel Handler Books
Handler’s fans love his penchant for adding dark humor and tackling depressing subjects in books that are aimed towards younger readers, with some of the best titles in his bibliography including:
The Bad Beginning: The Baudelaire children are alone. Their wealthy parents died in a fire. Now Arthur, their banker, has chosen to leave them in the care of Count Olaf, their cousin. Olaf has no interest in raising the brats. And he is more than happy to abuse and neglect them, except that they hold the keys to a large fortune.
Olaf is determined to claim it all for himself. But to do so, he must execute a plan that will enable him to marry the eldest Baudelaire girl without her knowledge.
The Reptile Room: When their parents died in a fire, the Baudelaire children were left homeless. The decision to leave them in the care of their cousin, Count Olaf, made a bad situation worse. It was obvious that he wanted to steal their inheritance.
But now they are free of him. The children have been sent to live with Doctor Monty Montgomery, a relative who studies reptiles. The Baudelaire children want to believe that they have escaped danger for good. But Stephano, Monty’s new assistant, looks a lot like Count Olaf.
When Does The Next Daniel Handler book come out?
Daniel Handler doesn't seem to have an upcoming book. Their newest book is Fox in the Bottle and was released on March, 5th 2019.