It’s time for the “Game of Scones” at Mississippi’s Edible Book Festival

Published 10:57 pm Wednesday, April 10, 2024

With mouth-watering winners such as “Poundcake for the Baskervilles” and “Game of Scones,” one can rest assured that The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) annual Edible Book Festival will once again include some intriguing entries.

The ninth annual event will be held on Monday, April 15 on USM’s Hattiesburg campus and Gulf Park campus in Long Beach. The festival is set for 2 p.m. in Cook Library Room 209A in Hattiesburg and the same time at the Gulf Coast Library at Gulf Park.

What is an edible book? Hali Black, Assistant Professor and Librarian at USM, explains that an “edible book” is a creation made from edible materials inspired by a book title, character, or author. She emphasizes that the “book” doesn’t have to taste good – it won’t be eaten.

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Black serves as festival coordinator along with Alisa Beck, Associate Professor and Librarian at Gulf Park. Each year libraries and cultural institutions around the world hold edible book festivals to celebrate the birthday of Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826), the French author of a witty book on food entitled Physiologie du gout. Since its beginning in 1999, the festival has grown into an international event held annually on or around April 1.

“We are very excited to host this year’s Edible Book Festival on both USM campuses,” said Black. “University Libraries strives to provide equitable access to our resources, services, and events to all of our University community, regardless of where they are located. In addition to hosting the event at both the Hattiesburg and Long Beach campuses, participants can also take part virtually anywhere.”

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Any USM student, faculty, staff, alumni, or community member may participate.
    Book must be made from edible materials (books will not be eaten at the festival or tasted by judges).
  • An entry does not have to look like a book but must be inspired by a book title, character, or author.
  • Remember, the “punnier” the better!

Notes Black, “If you’ve ever loved a book so much that you wanted to eat it, or driven your loved ones crazy with puns, The Edible Book Festival might be for you.”

Last year’s festival included 18 entries and organizers hope to surpass that number this year. To ensure as many participants as possible, the deadline to enter has been extended until 5 p.m. on Friday, April 12.

This year’s festival is being held in collaboration with the Eagle’s Nest Food Pantry, the Gulf Park Pantry, and the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory’s Gunter Library Eagle Food Pantry. Each of these food banks provide resources for the Southern Miss Community who are temporarily experiencing challenges accessing basic necessities and food. Festival attendees are encouraged to bring a food pantry donation.

Learn more about The Edible Book Festival.