Brow Beat

The Author of A Series of Unfortunate Events Is Using His Unspent Netflix Money to Fund a Poetry Prize

Per Diem Press will take its name from its source of funding: Handler’s daily stipend from Netflix.

Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for Los Angeles Times

A Series of Unfortunate Events is getting an eight-episode Netflix adaptation, and there are many people who plan to stand to gain from this. Some of these are the people disappointed by the 2004 film version of the series, starring Jim Carrey as Count Olaf. Others are the cast and crew who worked on the film, who will be receiving paychecks and, hopefully, some small amount of glory. And now you—yes, you, reader—can also profit from Netflix’s gloom-and-doom production—assuming, that is, that you are an aspiring poet waiting for your big break.


Let me explain: Daniel Handler, the author who wrote the Unfortunate Events series under the pseudonym Lemony Snicket, has announced that he is establishing a small poetry press, using money he received during filming of the Netflix production. In a Facebook post, Handler explained that though Netflix gave him a daily stipend for his time in Vancouver, British Columbia, where the adaptation was being filmed, he never spent any of it. Now he’s using that money to launch the appropriately named Per Diem Press, which will publish a single chapbook of poetry, “hopefully” designed by Lisa Brown, a famous illustrator and, conveniently, Handler’s wife.


Here’s where you come in. The contents of this chapbook will come from one lucky poet who stands to win $1,000 and his or her work in print, as well as a possible opportunity to give a joint reading with Handler. And that’s the press’s whole purpose—after that, it will “go on an extended hiatus until such time as the proprietor receives a substantial amount of money for no good reason.”


Handler is a great lover of poetry, and it’s nice to think that he really just had some money lying around and said, heck, let’s start a poetry press and give some poor unknown with a love of words a chance at greatness. Lemony Snicket, mysterious figure that he is, would likely urge you not to enter the contest, since it is probably a trap. I am not Lemony Snicket, so I think it’s a smashing idea, and that you should send your “eightish” pages of previously unpublished, English-language material right away to:

Per Diem Press
912 Cole St. #331
San Francisco, California 94117

This seems like a series of very fortunate events, if you ask me.