According to the website Slate, Gaiman and Handler competed on Nov. 19 to see who could give away more books in half an hour at Washington Square Park, distributing both the National Book Award nominees for this year as well as their own works. (Who won? According to Publishers Weekly, Handler said the winner was “literature.”)
Handler (also known as Lemony Snicket, the author of the “Series of Unfortunate Events” book series) hosted this year’s NBAs, while Gaiman presented the 2014 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to Ursula K. Le Guin at the ceremony.
According to PW, Handler and Gaiman still said hello to people waiting in line after the thirty minutes had elapsed and the books to distribute had vanished.
“Your books were so important to my childhood,” one person said to Handler, according to PW. “I’m sorry,” he said.
The National Book Awards this year went to the short story collection “Redeployment” by Phil Klay, the nonfiction “Age of Ambition” by Evan Osnos, Jacqueline Woodson’s young readers’ book “Brown Girl Dreaming,” and Louise Gluck’s poetry work “Faithful and Virtuous Night.”