March 21, 2011

Morris Library to host Edible Book Festival

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Is it a book? A tasty treat? A work of art?

It could be all three as Morris Library at Southern Illinois University Carbondale hosts its first-ever Edible Book Festival on April 1. Students, faculty, staff and community members can bring the edible books they create to the library’s rotunda in the northeast corner of the first floor between 10:30 a.m. and 12:10 p.m. on April Fool’s Day.

Judging wraps up about 12:30 p.m. and the grand prize best-of-show winner will get an Amazon Kindle. There will be other prizes, too, with categories for “punniest,” best book structure, most edible, least edible and public choice. When the competition ends, the crowd is welcome to dive in and gobble up the edible books.

“For the record, just because it’s edible, doesn’t mean we will eat it. The edible books can be literal or conceptual. That’s the beauty. Someone did ‘20,000 Leeks Under the Sea’ for a previous event elsewhere and it was gelatin, leeks and goldfish. Somehow, I don’t think Jell-o and leeks go together but someone else might eat it!” Megan Lotts, assistant professor and fine arts librarian, said with a laugh.

Lotts and Julie Mosbo, assistant professor and preservation librarian, are the show organizers. The festival is in conjunction with a worldwide celebration dating to 2000. Lotts said each year the Edible Book Festival takes place on the birthday of Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826). Brillat-Savarin is the author of the famous and witty food book, “Physiologie du gout.” Judith A. Hoffberg and Béatrice Coron launched the International Edible Book Festival ( and countries all over the world join in the fun. Now, it is coming to SIUC.

Lotts said judges for the Morris Library contest include Chancellor Rita Cheng, University Housing’s Chef Bill Connors and Cynthia Fountaine, law school dean and professor.

For more information about the SIUC Edible Book Festival, contact Mosbo at (618/453-2947) or Lotts at (618/453-2663). Or, visit the Facebook page at