Neil Gaiman and Daniel Handler are old friends and highly successful authors. They are also both swordsman. So its fitting they headlined an event named, “En Garde” at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM).
Daniel Handler might be better known by his pseudonym, Lemony Snicket, under which he wrote the popular, “Series of Unfortunate Events” which was eventually adapted into a film.
Both were there to promote their books and perform for the the packed theater. Handler’s most recent novel, “We Are Pirates”, is a modern day pirate novel set in San Francisco.
Neil Gaiman’s most recent novel, “Trigger Warning”, is a collection of poems and short stories. Not coincidentally, both books were released the same day, on February 3rd.
The night outside BAM looked like any of the alt-rock concerts that were surely playing across Brooklyn that same night. As we entered the excitement was palpable. Cards were passed around before the two got onstage for audience members to write questions.
The performance was well received with stories of people quoting their books in front of them, and humble wonderment of their successes. It was a healthy mix of funny, serious and thoughtful when they spoke about the state of literature. It was like an oscar-winning dramedy.
At one point Gaiman spoke about people approaching him to tell him how important his books were to them, crying while they spoke. Looking at the audience faces during the show, I imagine many people there were moved by the novels as well.
Handler is a force in the literary community and has, on occasion, made headlines for the wrong reasons. One particular mishap was not off the table at BAM that night. When presenting a literary award to a black friend in November he said she’s allergic to watermelon. He immediately apologized on Twitter.
But, there was no mishaps that night, it was perfect.