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“Who came to see what life could be”: Celebrating Leo Writers

Posted by Sarah Bofenkamp on

Somewhere there is a sun-baked meadow, fragrant with hot basil and juniper and lime, where the Leos go: where Beatrix Potter takes off her shoes and Julia Child rolls out the blankets, where Aldous Huxley and Jun'ichirō Tanizaki meet and where, when the sun gets low, they light the lanterns for the thousands still on their way to the party. Charles Bukowski, for instance, may still be sloshing his way through the knee-high grass. Dorothy Parker too, probably just a few paces ahead.

Born between July 23 and August 22, Leo authors are the smooth-talkers of the mid-season and the only sign ruled by the sun - the planet of energy and self. As creatures of excess and obsession and limitless ambition, they are the ones who write in order to live again and again on the page and in our memory. Take Zelda Fitzgerald, an embodiment of astrological energy when she said: “I wish I could write a beautiful book to break those hearts that are soon to cease to exist: a book of faith and small neat worlds and of people who live by the philosophies of popular songs.”

Like Zelda, these are the authors who refuse to retire. They are the James Baldwins and the Li-Young Lees, the Isabel Allendes and the Gish Jens: the ones who make prey out of beauty and literature out of life.

Famous Leo Authors
 
Raymond Chandler - July 23, 1888
Hubert Selby Jr. - July 23, 1928
Alexandre Dumas - July 24, 1802
Jun'ichirō Tanizaki - July 24, 1886
Zelda Fitzgerald - July 24, 1900
John MacDonald - July 24, 1916
George Bernard Shaw - July 26, 1856
Aldous Huxley - July 26, 1894
Elizabeth Hardwick - July 27, 1916
Gerard Manley Hopkins - July 28, 1844
Beatrix Potter - July 28, 1866
John Ashbery - July 28, 1927
Chester Himes - July 29, 1909
Chang-rae Lee - July 29, 1965
Emily Brontë - July 30, 1818
José Antonio Villarreal - July 30, 1924
Celeste Ng - July 30, 1980
Primo Levi - ​​July 31, 1919
Herman Melville - August 1, 1819
Ross Gay - August 1, 1974
James Baldwin - August 2, 1924
Isabel Allende - August 2, 1942
Diane Wakoski - August 3, 1937
Percy Bysshe Shelley - August 4, 1792
William Henry Hudson - August 4, 1841
Knut Hamsun - August 4, 1859
Guy de Maupassant - August 5, 1850
Wendell Berry - August 5, 1934
Alfred Lord Tennyson - August 6, 1809
Ogden Nash - August 19, 1902
Philip Larkin - August 9, 1922
Daniel Keyes - August 9, 1927
Jorge Amado - August 10, 1912
Alex Haley - August 11, 1921
Edith Hamilton - August 12, 1867
Gish Jen - August 12, 1955
Sir Walter Scott - August 15, 1771
Julia Child - August 15, 1912
Wallace Thurman - August 16, 1902
Charles Bukowski - August 16, 1920
John Hawkes - August 17, 1925
Ted Hughes - August 17, 1930
V.S. Naipaul - August 17, 1932
Alain Robbe-Grillet - August 18, 1922
Li-Young Lee - August 19, 1957
H. P. Lovecraft - August 20, 1890
Jacqueline Susann - August 20, 1918
Alexander Chee - August 21, 1967
Dorothy Parker - August 22, 1893
Ray Bradbury - August 22, 1920
Annie Proulx - August 22, 1935

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