Eat your way through edible books

Sophia DiBattista

     Grab your aprons because the annual Edible Books Festival is coming Friday, April 6 to Myrin Library. Since 2005, the event has boasted many creative and tasty entries submitted by excited participants.

     According to Myrin’s Instructional Technology Librarian, Christine Iannicelli, “Libraries around the world host Edible Books Festivals similar to ours at the beginning of April. The International Edible Books Festival is held annually around April 1 to commemorate the birthday of French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826).”

     She added that the idea was first proposed in 1999 by Judith A. Hoffberg, a writer and librarian, and Beatrice Coron, an illustrator.

     The festival first came to Ursinus when Jessica Gallagher ‘06 told the library staff about the event. Since then it has become an annual event with around 20 people participating every year, half consisting of faculty and half consisting of students. Students get extremely creative with their entries, like graduate Samantha Keoonela ’17 who submitted “Perks of Being a Cauliflower,” inspired by “Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky.

     Iannicelli runs the program with Andy Prock, the Scholarly Communications & Metadata Librarian, and both create the theme for the festival each year. Iannicelli commented that this year’s “Stranger Things” theme is by far her favorite.

     “Andy and I are both fans of ‘Stranger Things,’ [and] we chose it because it has become such an iconic television series that brings a healthy dose of nostalgia for 80s pop culture and literature,” said Iannicelli. This does not mean that all submissions must revolve around the theme. Submissions can be inspired by books of any genre at any time. The theme is used as a fun subject for the library to be decorated around.

     The library will be decorated to match the theme as well, with Stephen King books and “Stranger Things” decorations. Starting the last week of March, there will be photos from previous years shown in the library display case for people to look in on for enjoyment and inspiration for entries.

     Last year’s winner for the most popular entry out of 20 submissions went to Jennifer Kuklentz, a Copy Center and Facilities Services technician. The entry was titled “Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them,” inspired by J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.” Kuklentz said she entered because “it sounded like fun, and [she is] highly competitive.” Kuklentz plans on entering again and recommends the event to everyone.

     “It’s neat to see everyone’s interpretation of a book title into food, and if you can’t make one, stop by and vote. [A lot] of my friends entered, and they had a ball,” said Kuklentz.

     Kuklentz’s entry for this year is a secret and will be revealed during the festival.

     For those interested in competing, Iannicelli explained that “participants are asked to create entries out of edible ingredients [and] food products. The entries should have some literary connection (e.g. entries could look like a book, be a play on its title, or be inspired by its contents). Participants can submit as many entries as they wish and can submit entries individually or as teams.”

     Iannicelli added that competitors must have their entries submitted by 11 a.m. in the library on the day of the festival. The judging period lasts from 11a.m. to 1 p.m. During that time period the Ursinus community is welcome to come to the first floor of Myrin and vote for the winning entries. At 1:15 p.m., the ballots will be counted and the winners announced.

     Said Iannicelli, “The grand prize for the most popular entry is $100. The runner-up gets $50. We also have four $25 prizes for Funniest Entry, Best Book Representation, Most Appetizing, and Least Appetizing.” The best part is that after the competition ends, all attendees may eat the leftovers, so everyone is a winner!

     Stop by the Edibles Book Festival on Friday, April 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Questions can be directed to Christine Iannicelli at