Edible book festival “bakes” over library

Audio/Story posted March 21, 2017 in CommRadio by Steph Krane


On Monday, Penn State’s finest bakers took to the Paterno Library to show off their literary baking talents in the library’s first ever Edible Book Festival. The event, which showcased a variety of cake, cupcake and cookie displays, was organized as a celebration of both books and baked goods.

“I came from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and they do this [event] every year,” Megan Gilpin, Coordinator of Outreach at the library, said when asked how she got the idea to start the event. “It’s actually part of a worldwide festival where they’re honoring [French gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin].”

Brillat-Savarin is most famous for his book Physiologie du goût (The Physiology of Taste), a witty meditation on food. In his honor, edible book festivals are held around the world the world in the days and weeks around the April Fool’s holiday. However, Monday’s event marked the first time the celebration came to Penn State.

“We’ve been pretty happy- we weren’t sure how it would go,” Reference and Instruction librarian Hailey Fargo, who helped to organize the event, said. “We’ve had people [bringing in cakes], we’ve had people in here looking to vote on them. It went better than expected, especially for the first time.”

Festival participant Preeya Kuray, a grad student studying material science engineering, decided to make her entry an homage to Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.

“I really love the book, I think it’s a wonderfully written book. I’m a really big fan of Peter Sís, who did the cover art for [the book], so I wanted to pay homage to that.”

Kuray’s efforts made her a winner in the categories of People’s Choice and Best Depiction of A Classic, despite facing strong competition from other entries such as Twinkie Thousand Leagues Under The Sea (winner of the Funniest/Punniest category) and Animal Cracker Farm (deemed Most Creative).

Library staff say that they hope to bring the event back again next year.

Listen below for more on the Edible Book Festival:

Steph Krane is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism and political science. She can be reached at smk6150@psu.edu.