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Edible Book Festival combines students’ creativity with literary passion 

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The International Edible Book Festival held at the UNLV Libraries was filled to the brim with both readers’ favorite books and delicious food.

Held on April 1 inside the Goldfield Room of the library, the edible book fest is held to celebrate the birthday of Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, a French lawyer and politician from the 19th Century.

At the book festival, students are able to let out their creative side by submitting edible entries. The projects have to “be ‘bookish’ through the integration of text, literary inspiration or, quite simply, the form,” according to the UNLV Libraries website.

“I thought it was a good way to get kids to participate in the library events and let kids know that there are things that go on in the library,” sophomore hospitality major Giselle D’Souza said.

Students who attended the event were also able to vote on their favorite edible design.

The winner of the fest, with the Best Overall Entry, was freshman Amanda Oliver, a kinesiology major. She won with her cake from The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.

She entered the contest with a display made of chocolate base, cream cheese frosting and fondant.

“I just felt like I’d be able to express more of my artistic side,” Oliver said.

Sophomore Amy Check gave praise to all the displays, paying special attention to Oliver’s in particular.

“They were really good and really cool,” she said. “I felt like the girl who won first place deserved it.”

Check did her project with her friend and coworker, junior Winita Frederick.

“It was a good excuse to hang out and eat junk food with my friend,” Frederick said.

The pair did their edible book on the poem The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams.

“First, we were trying to originally create a type of project that played on an idea of a food-based book,” Check explained. “We settled on a wheelbarrow mainly because it was carrying food. It was going to be our focal point, but Winita remembered the poem The Red Wheelbarrow and the poem combined with our love for Peeps blossomed into the project.”

Marshmallow Peeps of all sizes, colors and shapes, a lot of chocolate fondant and various kinds of crushed cookies were used to recreate The Red Wheelbarrow, which won the Best Entry Fiction Category. Jolly Ranchers were used as the water for their piece, which Check noted “turned out fairly well.”

Frederick, who pitched the idea of The Red Wheelbarrow, said that she learned of the poem in one of her English courses and felt inspired.

“I was reading modernist literature for a class and this poem was in my head for awhile,” she said. “I thought it was simple and we could be creative with it. I brought the idea to Amy because she’s very crafty … and I thought she’d be able to execute it well.”

The two admitted that the project was somewhat stressful, but overall a good decision.

“We didn’t plan well,” Check said. “The project involved a lot of late-night ideas that were strokes of genius.”

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