Register by March 31 for April 8 Edible Book Festival

By Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries

Edible-Book-Festival-webPULLMAN, Wash. – What better way to enjoy two of life’s greatest pleasures – books and food – than combining them? That’s the premise behind Washington State University Libraries’ inaugural Edible Book Festival on Friday, April 8 – a new offering for WSU Mom’s Weekend.

Registration for entries closes March 31; to register, visit the library guide at Participants can register individually or as a group.

Edible book festivals take place around the country and world to celebrate books, art, food and culture. Entry rules are simple: Submissions must be made from edible materials and somehow relate to a book.

“The second rule is often interpreted broadly,” said co-organizer and instruction librarian Holly Luetkenhaus. “Entries could be in the shape of a book, scroll, eReader or other format. They can represent any part of the book, from title to character to setting to author. Many participants also choose to incorporate a play on words using puns.”

Celebrity judges tied to WSU, community

WSU’s festival begins with public viewing and refreshments at 1:30 p.m. in the Terrell Library atrium. Judging is at 2 p.m., with winners announced at 2:30.

“Celebrity judges” for the event will be Christopher Bruce, director of the WSU Museum of Art; Jamie Kohler, executive pastry chef for WSU Dining Services’ central production unit; Joanna Bailey, director of Pullman’s Neill Public Library; and Sarah Frame English, a WSU alum, donor and librarian with the Libraries of Stevens County (Wash.).

Awards will be given for people’s choice, most appetizing, best visual presentation and punniest/funniest.

‘Eat your words’

Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, via Wikimedia Commons.

The literary-culinary celebrations got their start with the first International Edible Book Festival ( on April 1, 2000, created by Judith A. Hoffberg and Béatrice Coron.

The date coincides with the birthday of French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, author of “Physiologie du Goût (The Physiology of Taste),” his meditations on good food published in 1825. The festival also borrows liberally from April Fools’ Day, “the perfect day to eat your words and play with them as the ‘books’ are consumed on the day of the event,” according to the website.

‘Taming of the Stew’

Since 2000, organizations and universities have dished up their own versions, including Loganberry Books and Strong Bindery in Shaker Heights, Ohio; Seattle Edible Book Festival; University of Florida Libraries; and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library.

“Taming of the Stew.” (Photo by Bea Nettles, courtesy of University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Dig into this mini-smorgasbord of past winners to get your creative juices flowing:

• J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye:” a catcher baseball card embedded in a stack of rye bread.
• Garth Stein’s “The Art of Racing in the Rain:” raisin doggy biscuits (“The Art of Raisins in the Grain”).
• Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew:” a crockpot of stew with a braided whip.
• Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species:” a cake study of a horse, Darwin’s portrait and a fresh-looking horse apple (“The Origin of Feces”).


Holly Luetkenhaus, WSU Libraries instruction librarian, 509-335-4667,
Nella Letizia, WSU Libraries public relations/communication coordinator, 509-335-6744,




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