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US-based Daniel Handler

I am one of the hapless few UK citizens unlucky enough to have encountered US-based Daniel Handler, the living embodiment of deeply doleful children's author Lemony Snicket. The chronicler of Unfortunate Events in his children's series, Snicket can be pictured permitting himself a smirk at his characters' misfortunes, but otherwise unmoved to jovial behaviour unless he is laughing all the way to the bank. The real Mr Handler (pictured), however, displayed a delightful sense of humour even when incarcerated in a concrete box (meeting room) at the Bologna book fair in 2002 and subjected to a series of visits from journalists with strange theories about his work. Later the same year, he cancelled his visit to the Edinburgh Festival, which obviously sounded like too much fun. He really is coming later this month, but his Hay Festival event on June 3 is likely to have sold out. Not miserable enough yet? Go to www.unfortunateevents.com.

Then, to cheer yourself up, see www.hayfestival.com and book for Coope Boyes and Simpson's concert of music inspired by Michael Morpurgo's Private Peaceful, on May 29.

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