Q&A with Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket), Bestselling Novelist and Upcoming Speaker at Rutgers University

Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket)

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ–Better known by his pen name, Lemony Snicket, Daniel Handler has sold more than 70 million books which have been translated into 40 languages. His popular volumes of children’s books, A Series of Unfortunate Events, has been adapted as both a film and Netflix original series. Mr. Handler has continued to publish novels for adults under his real name.


Fans will get the chance to interact with the author at a special Rutgers–New Brunswick author talk, An Evening with Daniel Handler. The public event will be held at the Rutgers University–New Brunswick College Avenue Student Center on January 13, 2018 at 7:00 pm. Mr. Handler will speak on “Lemony Snicket’s Bewildering Circumstances” and respond to audience questions. There will also be a book signing and reception. Current Rutgers students with Rutgers IDs will receive a free book with the ticket. To purchase tickets, visit winter.rutgers.edu/danielhandler.


Rutgers Division of Continuing Studies spoke with Mr. Handler about the relationship between the questions of his childhood and the literary success of his adult life.


Q: What aspects of your childhood do you think played a role in your literary success as an adult?

Stacks of books at home, regular visits to the library, and regular conversations around the dinner table where, in recognizably Jewish fashion, tales of laughter and despair were pretty much the same thing.


Q: What are some of the questions that haunted you as a youth?

Why are people cruel?  Why are people sad?  Why do some people make me sad and want to act cruelly?


Q: What is your favorite childhood book? Does it impact you differently as an adult?

My favorite book as a child was Dino Buzzati’s The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily which still entrances me absolutely.


Q: You're famously uninterested in happily ever-afters. Do you think it's advantageous for children to read darker stories?

I don’t know if it’s advantageous necessarily, but I think many readers find darker stories fascinating, and I do think it’s advantageous to be fascinated.


Q: Why do you think stories taking place in unpredictable and dangerous worlds resonate with kids?

Even in the most fantastic tales we want to recognize ourselves and our world.  Dangerous and unpredictable is our everyday setting; it makes sense it would be an oft-used literary one as well.


Q: How were you first inspired to try writing for a younger audience?

I was struggling with a mock-gothic novel about an adult orphan, when it occurred to me that an orphan who was a child was a much more sensible idea.


Q: How is your approach to writing for children different than writing for adults?

Oh, the writing is the same.  One simply frowns at a blank piece of paper.


To register for An Evening with Daniel Handler, visit winter.rutgers.edu/danielhandler.


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