by Sarah Block, Library Communications
The April Fools’ Day tradition of “eating your words” took the form of a feast Wednesday, April 1, in an event at UM’s Otto G. Richter Library that served literary entrées such as “Game of Scones,” “The Count of Monte Crispo,” and “The Com-Plate Works of William Shakespeare.” The playful spread of book-inspired creations were cooked up from across the University community taking part in the library’s celebration of the Edible Book Festival, an event established in 2000 that has sprinkled across libraries and universities worldwide.
“The Edible Book Festival celebrates the intellectually nourishing power of books in a fun and creative way,” says Kelly Miller, associate dean of Learning and Research Services at the University of Miami Libraries (UML).
The lure for creating and then devouring edible books is strong. Hundreds participated in UML’s fifth Edible Book Day event by viewing and voting on a total of 18 entries, resulting in four winners: Wittiest, “Game of Scones” by Hunter Hewitt; Healthiest, “The Berry Hungry Caterpillar” by Cheryl Gowing; Most Edible, “Telltale Candy Heart” by Vanessa Rodriguez; and Best in Show, “Book of Flowers” by Louisa Norris.
Education and Outreach Librarian Terri Robar, who served as chair of UML’s 2015 festival, says the event has a special draw for readers of varying genres and literary interests. “It’s a way for them to use their imaginations to create something based on the literature that inspires them, and they have a lot of fun translating that into an edible form.”
Entries have only two basic requirements: they must relate to a book, and they must be edible. Hunter Hewitt, a UM student majoring in neuroscience whose take on Game of Thrones won the award for Wittiest, says figuring out the best way to make fantasy elements from the series such as dragon eggs and a wolf’s head into an actual edible form took some research. “[In coming up with “Game of Scones,”] I had no idea scones were so diverse. There were options from sweet to savory with multitudes of combinations along the way.”
UML has distinct ties to the festival through its co-founder Beatrice Corón, whose handmade works from cut-paper are housed in Special Collections as part of the department’s growing artist’s books collection. “Artist’s books, like edible books, transcend the boundaries of traditional book forms,” says Cristina Favretto, head of Special Collections, and former chair of UM’s festival. “They engage viewers in a very active and visceral way.”
Whet your appetite on the full spread of edible books here.