2023 Winners

Best in Show

First Place: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (Renee Nerenberg and Marina Bien-Aime)
Second Place: Call of Cthulhu (Lizzy Stamper)

Best Literary

First Place: The Tell-Tale Heart (Erin Kennedy)
Second Place: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (Ivy Xun)

Best Effort

First Place: The Edible Woman (Sulagna Tripathi)
Second Place: Coraline (Yvonne Lin)

Most Delicious

First Place: The Magician’s Nephew (Tina de Jong)
Second Place: The Henna Artist (Biman Gujral)


First Place: On the Origin of Species (Chloe Frantz)
Second Place: The Help (LaVera Jackson)

Best Vegan

First Place: Red, White & Royal Blue (Hannah Leone)
Second Place: The Clockwork Princess (Leela Gowland, Mia Hotsuki, Kate Ketelhohn, & Layla Salomon)

About the Festival

The Sheridan Libraries Edible Book Festival began in 2014 and is now a highly-anticipated Johns Hopkins tradition. It is one of many such festivals that take place around the world on or around April 1 to celebrate books, art, food, and culture. In our festival, edible books are desserts inspired by literary titles, characters, or authors. Contestants are encouraged to combine word play with books, decoration, and ingredients.

Edible Book Festivals began with the Books2Eat website in 2000 and are now celebrated internationally. The event was created to commemorate the birthday of gastronome and author Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin. April Fools’ Day is also the perfect day to eat your words.

The Sheridan Libraries Book Festival is sponsored by the Winston Tabb Special Collections Research Center.

2023 Festival Guidelines

Contest Entry

Register via online entry form before 12pm, Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Registration has closed.

  • Eligibility: Open to all Johns Hopkins affiliates (students, faculty, staff, donor groups, and alumni).
  • Entry requirements:
    • The dessert must be made from edible materials.
    • The dessert does not have to look like a book; it simply needs to be inspired by one.
    • You must provide your recipe, and a one-sentence description about your entry. The content you provide will be used for our annual Edible Book Festival recipe card set.
    • Please follow the JHU Social Compact when creating your edible book.
  • Deadline: If you would like your recipe to be included in the annual Edible Book Festival recipe card set, please submit your recipe by 5pm on Friday, April 7. You will receive a link to the recipe form.

Questions or Comments? Email Heidi Herr at hherr1@jhu.edu and follow @jhuspecialcollections on Instagram to see highlights from previous festivals.

Categories & Awards

Best in Show

This edible book has it all: creativity, polish, and flare. From the written statement to the photos to the edible book itself, this dessert is the James Beard Award and the Nobel Prize for Literature combined!

First Place: $100 VISA Gift Card (Sponsored by the Friends of the Libraries)
Second Place: $80 Gift Card to Gertrude’s

Best Literary Theme

Let’s face it. You want to read instead of eat the book! This edible book perfectly embodies its literary inspiration or entices you to move the book to the top of your summer reading list.

First Place: $60 to Greedy Reads
Second Place: $40 to Greedy Reads

Best Effort

This category represents the spirit of the edible book festival! While it may not be the ace of cakes, this edible book is replete with charm and discernible effort, like the first draft of a promising writer!

First Place: $60 to Starbucks
Second Place: $40 to Starbucks

Most Delicious Edible Book

Not only does this edible book defy the limits of books and desserts, but it sets new levels of excellence for deliciousness as well!

First Place: $60 to Miss Shirley’s
Second Place: $40 to Miss Shirley’s


The edible book entry most likely to put a smile on your face! Clever, humorous, or super-silly, it makes your stomach roar with laughter and rumble with delight.

First Place: $60 to The Charmery
Second Place: $40 to The Charmery

Best Vegan

You can’t believe it’s not butter . . . or a book!

(this will be given as an e-card)
First Place: $60 to Atomic Books
Second Place: $40 to Atomic Books


All attendees may judge submissions. Winners are chosen by popular vote.


  • Who can compete?

    Students, faculty, staff, members of donor groups, and alumni of Johns Hopkins University are invited to enter the competition. The general public is welcome to attend the event and cast a vote for their favorites.

  • What sorts of desserts can we make?

    The sky is the limit! Past entries include flan, cookies, pies, challah bread, cake pops, and traditional decorated cakes.

    Look at past entries on Flickr for inspiration

  • Do I need to bring any supplies with me?

    We will provide tablecloths, compostable napkins, plates, forks, knives, and spoons. We will also have on hand a limited number of spatulas and cake servers for you to use. Each entry will also have its very own handmade placard created by our talented Special Collections student staff! If you need to bring specialized equipment to showcase your edible book, then please email Heidi Herr at hherr1@jhu.edu.

  • What about photographs?

    Yes, a photographer will be present at the event! Each edible book will have its own portrait taken. All contestants will receive a link to the Edible Book Fest album and are encouraged to download and share their favorite images. We will also be taking instant photos of each edible book so that all attendees can see what the dessert looked like before it was eaten!

  • May I enter more than one dessert?

    Of course you may! This is especially important because some contestants like to participate with their friends, but also want to try to make a literary-themed dessert on their own.

  • What about allergens?

    Yes, we care about allergens and dietary preferences! Please provide us with information about allergens on the registration form.  We will be labeling entries that are gluten-free, vegan, or contain nuts. You may also email Heidi Herr at hherr1@jhu.edu regarding the presence of any potential allergens in your edible book.

  • Can I change books after submitting an entry form?

    Yes. Please contact Heidi Herr at hherr1@jhu.edu by noon on Wednesday, March 29 with any book changes.

  • Do I need to be present to win?

    No, you do not need to be present to win. Participants will be contacted via email with the list of winners. Winners can pick up their prize from Special Collections, receive it through campus mail, or receive it mailed to their home address.

  • When do I drop off my edible book?

    You can drop off your desserts to the Glass Pavilion starting at 9am on Monday, April 3. Staff will be available to register your entry and help with any set up needs. If you need to drop off your dessert a bit before 9am, that’s cool. Simply leave your entry on a table along with a note stating your name and the book title. Staff will be bringing in supplies between 8:30 and 9am, so your edible book will not be alone for very long!

  • What can I win?

    Prizes will be announced in March.  They will include a selection of locally-made sweets and gift cards to area restaurants and cafés. First place prizes are valued at about $75, and second place prizes are valued at about $50.

2021 & 2022 Exhibition Galleries

We held these two festivals virtually. Explore the online galleries of submissions below.

Tip: You can view the exhibition in full screen mode by selecting the 3 vertical dots in the bottom bar and choose “Enter Full Screen”

Photo Albums on Flickr


display of a cake and tea set