Adam Mansbach wrote the novels “Angry Black White Boy” and “The End of the Jews” and the bestselling parody “Go the F--- to Sleep.” He will read at “Lit Laughs: Satire, Parody, and Humor” during Lit Crawl on Oct. 15; he also appears with Lyrics Born at the Jewish Community Center on Sunday.
What inspired your concept for the book? My daughter Vivian, who was 2 at the time. It sometimes took years to get her to go to sleep, and I staggered out of her room one night after a marathon attempt to try to get her to go to sleep, and posted a few sentences on a Facebook update as a joke, and just seeing the words on the screen made me realize that I knew how to write that book: “Go the F--- to Sleep.”
Did you anticipate the overnight success of the book? No, not in the slightest. I was tickled by the fact that the book was even getting published, and it seemed very far off. I wrote it quickly and shared with friends and family, and only gradually did I come to the belief that it could be published. I only sent it to one publisher, Akashic Books. They are not normally in the habit of publishing obscene fake children’s books, but they did it anyway.
How did Samuel L. Jackson come to be on board for the audio book? We sold the audio rights to audible.com, and they asked us to come up with some names. He was on the list of ideal readers but it seemed implausible at the time. We found out he’d already heard of the book and was a fan, so it was altogether amazing to work with him.
Did you ever have a moment when you knew you wanted to be a writer or was it always a part of your life? I think I always knew. My family tells me stories about me as a 4- and 5-year-old making people take dictation for me at my grandparents’ parties and stuff, so it was always part of my ambition, and I come from a family that is heavy on writing, so I think I got more support for the idea of being a writer than most kids who declare that intention.
IF YOU GO
Lit Laughs: Satire, Parody and Humor
Where: Lone Palm, 3394 22nd St., San Francisco
When: 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 15
Contact: (415) 440-4177, www.litcrawl.org