Have you ever, upon reading a biography of a noted composer like Beethoven, felt the overwhelming urge to transform a delicious baked good into a tribute to musical achievement? A buttery fetish to at once praise and devour? Have you, dear reader, sought to create the elusive  Beethoven-shaped challah?  Do you, like our extraordinary baker from our 2021 edible book festival, “feel Beethoven’s tortured yet optimistic and chocolatey gaze”?

Challah shaped like the composer Beethoven
Feel Beethoven’s tortured yet optimistic and chocolatey gaze!

Clearly, you have.  That’s why you have continued reading and not closed your browser in disgust! So why not share some of your literary dessert fever dreams with us and submit a dessert to Read It and Eat It, the Sheridan Libraries’ annual edible book festival! Unfortunately, despite going bananas for both books and desserts, we cannot take credit for the invention of edible books!  The idea for an edible book festival was originally created by two book artists back in 2000 and is meant to be a whimsical, literary way to celebrate both April Fool’s Day and the birthday of Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, an incredibly snarky French gourmand of yore. It has since been celebrated at various libraries and museums throughout the world, including at Johns Hopkins University since 2014. Our festival seeks entries that showcase a book or literary character in dessert or baked good genre of your choice, including cupcakes (a noted subgenre of cake), cookies, and even flan!

This year marks our eighth annual edible book festival. Last year, we hosted our first virtual edible book festival and we will be continuing that tradition this year.  Though a virtual edible book festival may sound odd unless you are a robot or Alexa, it actually does have some advantages, like creating an online museum of desserts! That’s right! We will be creating an amazing exhibition site to show off your literary culinary creations. Plus,  you can bake your dessert at your leisure, provided that you submit it by noon on Monday, April 4.  We will be compiling all the contestants’ recipes and photos in to an official Sheridan Libraries’ Edible Book Festival Cookbook, copies of which will be added to our historic cookbook collection and given as thank-you gifts to all competitors. Plus, we will be hosting a fun online celebration with live voting results at 2:30pm on Sunday, April 10.   Please visit the official Read It and Eat It page to register for the contest, learn details about the online event, and review our handy FAQs addressing the most popular and pressing of edible book needs!

Want to participate, but need some inspiration? Totally view our photo album featuring all of the 2021 edible books, but also check out some fan favorites below:

You so want to enter, right? Don’t forget that all content, such as recipes and photographs, must be submitted by noon on Monday, April 4 in order to give us time to construct a monument to your edible books. Don’t forget to  follow @jhuspecialcollections on Instagram for fun flashback photos from our previous festivals! Happy reading and bon appétit!