Edible Books are BACK!!


‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ The People’s Choice winner, 2019

Do you like The Great British Bake Off? How about puns? Do books delight you? If the answer is yes to one or all of these questions, the International Edible Book Festival is for you!

We are delighted to announce that the International Edible Book Festival is making its return to Chatham after a four-year hiatus (COVID). This tradition, sponsored by the JKM Library and Chatham’s food studies program, will be back for its 9th installment on Monday, April 8th from 4-6pm on the first floor of the JKM Library.

We know many of you have never had the pleasure of experiencing the International Edible Book Festival, so this post is here to answer all (or hopefully most) of your questions. Have more? Contact Reference and Outreach Librarian Jocelyn Codner!

What is the International Edible Book Festival? Started in 2000, this celebration of food and reading brings communities together to share creative literature-inspired food or beverage items (the ‘edible books’ in question). Contestants sign up to bring an ‘edible book’, and on the day of the event they present their book to judges and attendees. The judges taste and evaluate each entry and award prizes, and the attendees vote on their favorites for the People’s Choice prize. A wonderful time is had by all!

What does the event look like? We set up a bunch of tables in the JKM Library’s first floor lobby. Contestants set up their ‘edible books’ for display, and the judges begin their tastings and deliberations. Once the judges have had a chance to taste all entries, the tasting is opened up to all attendees. Attendees enjoy the ‘edible books’ and vote for their favorite (the People’s Choice Award). After everyone has had a chance to taste, vote, and socialize, we then announce our winners and distribute our prizes!

Crowd shots from our 2019 event:

Who is allowed to participate? Everyone! This event is open to all Chatham students, staff, and faculty. It’s also open to the public at large! Anyone can enter an ‘edible book’ into the festival’s contest.

How can I participate? You can attend as just a spectator and vote for your favorite ‘edible book’, or you can participate as a contestant in the festival’s contest! Either way, we ask that you register. It’s important to know how many folks are planning to show up so we can plan for how many people to feed.

What do I need to know if I’m submitting an ‘edible book’ to the contest? Register for the event on Happenings and be sure to mark that you will be submitting an ‘edible book’. You will then receive informational emails from Jocelyn. Your ‘edible book’ can be as simple or complicated as you’d like. It can be a food or beverage item, but it has to have some tie to literature, libraries, or reading. Check out our posts from past International Edible Book Festivals to get inspiration! Deliver your ‘edible book’ to the JKM Library by 3:30pm on Monday, April 8th. You should include with your ‘edible book’ a list of ingredients (for both judging and dietary restriction purposes) and a copy of the book that inspired you! You are expected to stand with your ‘edible book’ during the judging process to answer any questions, but then are are free to go sample other contestant’s ‘edible books’ and vote for your favorite.

Examples of ‘edible books’ submitted to our 2019 event:


What are the prize categories? Each ‘edible book’ entry is eligible to win prizes. Prizes usually include little donated gift items like water bottles, cookbooks, gift baskets, gift certificates, and more. Our categories this year are:

  • Best Tasting: This one is fairly straight forward. It’s not how good your ‘edible book’ looks, but how good it tastes.
  • Most Creative Literary Interpretation: Taste is not as important in this category. Instead, it’s your creativity the judges are looking at. The most creative ‘edible book’ wins!
  • People’s Choice: This is the popular vote! All attendees get to taste the ‘edible books’ and vote for their favorite.
  • Grand Prize: Awarded by the judges, this prize is best in show. It is awarded to the ‘edible book’ that really knocked it out of the park in both taste, creativity, and presentation.

We hope this piques your interest and that you’ll enter an ‘edible book’ creation of your own in our 9th annual International Edible Book Festival. Let’s have some literary fun together!

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