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Mixed Media

Novel Cuisine

At WNYBAC, you can have your cake and read it too

A sweet version of “The Lord of the Rings.”

A sweet version of “The Lord of the Rings.” Photo: Meredith Forrest Kulwicki

By Rebecca Rudell

“It’s fun to think of a book in a different way than just paper”
Rosemary Williams (BFA ’14)

What’s better than celebrating literature? Eating it, of course! Since April 1, 2000, book-and-food lovers around the world have been taking part in the annual Edible Book Festival, a global event in which competitors in various cities design and create tasty tomes, which are then judged and, finally, devoured. The Western New York Book Arts Center (WNYBAC)—founded in 2008 by Richard Kegler (MA ’94) and currently staffed by Gail Nicholson (MFA ’01, BFA ’84), Rosemary Williams (BFA ’14) and UB master’s student Melissa Ellis—began hosting Buffalo’s incarnation of the fête nine years ago.

“It’s fun to think of a book in a different way than just paper,” says Williams. “And the festival aligns with WNYBAC’s mission to promote the education of book arts to all ages.” Book arts include bookbinding, papermaking, screenprinting and letterpress printing, all of which can be observed and learned at the center throughout the year.

Nearly 300 attendees—from primer readers on up—filed into WNYBAC on April Fools’ Day this year to admire the edible entries, from “The Zombie Survival Guide” to “Where the Wild Things Are.” Local celebrity judges selected “Most Creative,” “Best Tasting” and “Most Book-Like” from both youth and adult categories. But the undisputed highlight of the evening was when attendees and creators alike consumed the comestible copies from cover to cover.