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French author Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin is credited with writing, “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.” In other words, you are what you eat. While the famous gastronome, best known for his witty meditation on food, Physiologie du gout, likely never chewed on a copy of Pride and Prejudice, he was the inspiration for the International Edible Book Festival.

The global event, created by art librarian Judith A. Hoffberg and artist Béatrice Coron, has been celebrated in various parts of the world since its founding in Montreal in 2000. It came to Albright in 2006 when the late Rosemary Deegan, former director of Albright’s Gingrich Library, wanted to find a fun way to promote the library and its resources. Kristin Brumbach, then the instructional and outreach services librarian, ran the program.

“Many students were unaware of the extent of resources and services the library offered,” said Brumbach. “Meanwhile, others were overwhelmed by what we offered, because they were used to much smaller  libraries. We wanted to start doing more things to bring students in, to make them feel welcome and comfortable, and to start a conversation about how we could help.”

But what exactly is an edible book? Edible books are made of food and are inspired by literary titles, characters or authors. Although the first year saw just eight entries, including an elaborate James and the Giant Peach cake, Brumbach said, “students really enjoyed thinking back to childhood favorites and having a creative outlet in the middle of the semester.”

This year, under the direction of librarian Lindsay Sakmann, 21 entries ranging from childhood favorites like  The Cat in the Hat to literary classics such as Great Expectations were judged. “‘Humble Charlotte,’ which won for Most Literary, was my favorite,” said Sakmann. Samantha Roy ’07, former academic affairs secretary, created the entry, based on the story of Charlotte’s Web, with her four-year-old daughter, Nadia. Roy said, “I want her to have a passion for reading, and anything I can do to make it fun, I’ll do.”

1) “The Life of Pie” from The Life of Pi by Kennon Rice, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology, and family; Honorable Mention, 2014.

2) “The Lunch Sack of Notre Dame” from The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Catharine Resh ’80, night circulation supervisor, 2014.

3) “The Thorn Birds” by Lindsay Sakmann, instructional and outreach services librarian, 2014.

4) “Murder on the Orient Express” by Ying Ha; Honorable Mention, 2014.

5) “Elizabeth Bartlett Brownie” from Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Sonnets from the Portugese by Heidi Ziemer, public access services librarian, 2013.

6) “I Haven’t the Slightest Idea,” The Hatter, from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Megan Sherman ’17 and Rachael Noaker ’17; First Place and People’s Choice Award, 2014.

7) “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” by Chelsea Carroll ’16 and Zamoni Oates ’17, 2014.

8) “Cinderella’s Pumpkin Carriage” by Kiki Lee, Tze Ching and Lenny Lai; People’s Choice and Best in Show, 2016.

Photos by John Pankratz


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