Playing by the book’s International Edible Book Festival 2013

posted in: Bruce Ingman | 19

Roll up! Roll up!

Wherever you are in the world, you are cordially invited to join us in celebrating all things bookish and delicious by taking part in Playing by the book’s 2nd Annual

International Edible Book Festival!


Edible book festivals have been taking place around the world since 1999, but as there are none near me I decided last year to host an online festival for all of us who can’t get to a local edible book festival.

Photo courtesy of The Illustration Cupboard I am honoured and utterly delighted to announce that Bruce Ingman is this year’s Festival Patron!

I invited Bruce to be the festival’s patron after reading his wonderful new book, a collaboration with Allan Ahlberg, Hooray for Bread (which I will be reviewing shortly).

Entry information

To enter the festival you should create an edible book, take two photos of it and email them to me, by Wednesday March 20 2013 (please feel free to email me your pictures any time before then – it would be helpful if you didn’t leave it until March the 20th if possible).

NB One of your photos should include something that “time dates” the photo eg a newspaper, your computer monitor with this page in the background etc. This is to ensure that no-one submits photos of cakes they have simply found on the web. Your second photo should be the best photo you can take of your cake. I will use this photo in an online gallery of all submitted cakes.

In your submission email please include the title/author/illustrator of the book on which your edible book is based, and a sentence or two about what in particular inspired your edible book.

Children can enter, families can enter, bakers can enter. Even authors and illustrators can enter (maybe you’ll create an edible version of one of your printed books?). Do you run a children’s bookshop? Or library? Your customers (and you!) could enter… Are you a teacher? Maybe your pupils would like to enter? …Making an Edible Book is a great way to celebrate World Book Day on March 7th 🙂

Entries are welcome from all over the world, based on children’s books in any language. The only people who aren’t eligible to enter this competition are Bruce and myself.

Each family may enter up to two edible books to the festival.

What is an edible book?

Your creation can be anything as long as it is (theoretically) edible and is somehow children’s literature related.

For example, it could (1) look like a book, (2) be inspired by the content of a book, (3) look like a book character or be based on a book’s text – really, anything goes as long as there is a children’s book connection. Your edible book can be sweet or savoury, and whilst we won’t be judging based on taste, your edible book must be made out of edible ingredients. You might find inspiration on my Pinterest Edible Books board.

What we’re looking for is creativity and fun. We won’t be awarding prizes on the basis of who can ice a cake the most neatly!


I will create an anonymous online gallery of all entries. The gallery will be open for public viewing (ie by you, your friends, book-and-cake lovers around the world) from Friday 22 March until late night viewing ends on Wednsday 27 March.

Bruce will select the 3 winners from the gallery. He will not know who submitted which cake, thus his decision will be impartial and final.

Winners will be announced on Thursday 28 March 2013, when I will also host a link-up for all bloggers who took part and who wish to write a post about their entry to the festival. If you do wish to write a blog post about your Edible Book, please do not make it public before March 28 (in the interest of impartial judging I’d like there to be no way for the judge to know who created which Edible Book, until all judging has taken place).


  • 1st prize – A signed sketch by Bruce Ingman, plus a copy each of Hooray for Bread, The Runaway Dinner and Previously, all signed by both author and illustrator, Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman

  • 2nd Prize – A copy each of Hooray for Bread, The Runaway Dinner, Previously and The Pencil, all signed by both author and illustrator, Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman

  • 3rd Prize – A copy of Hooray for Bread signed by both Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman

  • As the festival is open worldwide, prizes will be posted (securely) to wherever the winners come from, so location is certainly no bar to participation.

    Spreading the word

    You can repost the poster image above for a quick blog post about the International Edible Book Festival – simply right click to save it on to your computer, and then upload it like any other image to your blog. The web poster is 450px wide.

    If you work in a library or a school and would like to encourage readers, staff, or students to enter, you can download an A4 poster advertising the International Edible Book Festival. Click here for the colour pdf file. If you’d prefer a black and white poster, click here.


    You can use this button (above) in your blog’s side bar. If downloading / uploading the image is too complicated, you should be able to get it to appear in your blog by copying and pasting this text wherever you wish the button to appear:

    <a href=""><img src="" /></a>

    Most importantly…

    Anyone, anywhere may enter the festival (apart from Bruce and me). You do not need to be a blogger, and you certainly do not need to be a pastry chef or a master baker. You can enter as an adult or a child or as a family – the most important thing is just to give it a go! This festival is about having fun, being creative, and just maybe having something nice to eat at the end of it all.

    Any questions? Get in touch via email, I look forward to lots of you joining in!

    Cook-book-113x130And if you do decide to take part in the Edible Book Festival, especially if you’re at a school or organisation, you might want to take a look at Book Aid International’s Bake for Books fundraising page. Book Aid are a great charity who do amazing work increasing access to books in sub-Saharan Africa. [Image: Clara Vulliamy for Book Aid International]

    19 Responses

    1. I am super excited! What wonderful prizes too! I have a few ideas, now to get in the kitchen and start baking 🙂 Such a wonderful way to celebrate our love of books. Thank you for hosting this awesome event Zoe!
      Melissa @ Honey Bee Books recently posted..Happy Book Giving Day!

    2. We’ll play again this year, we had so much fun last year!
      Penny recently posted..What I read in 2012

    3. Oh Wonderful, we had such fun entering last year!!! I know we are going to have to put our thinking caps on now!!! We can’t wait to take part!!!
      se7en recently posted..World Book Giving Day &#8211; We Need Your Help To Build Another Library&#8230;

    4. Melissa, I’m so excited too! I’ve been like a kid at christmas waiting to announce this year’s festival 🙂

      Penny – you were my very first entrant last year and so you’ll always hold a special place in the annals of the International Edible Book Festival! I wonder if the Oscars will be your backdrop to baking this year too?

      Se7en!!! I purposefully arranged extra time this year between announcement and closing date so your family will have enough time to choose what they want to do 😀 I still love your dresses from last year so much.

    5. It DOES feel like Christmas Zoe! 🙂
      Helen D recently posted..Dragon Brush – Cybils Winner 2012

    6. AMAZING. *runs off to plot* 😀
      LH Johnson recently posted..Comment on Let me tell you about my mum and dad by nobodyjones

    7. rachel slater

      I plan to take part again this year!…not sure I can top my winning cake of last year though…last year I knew instantly what to do, this year you have got me thinking hmmm

    8. Polly, perhaps you and the boys could do something Phoenix comic inspired??

      Helen – it is certainly cold enough here to be Christmas! Another good reason to get the oven on 🙂

      LH Johnson – I just wish I could join your edible book making party…

      RACHEL!! No pressure this year 😉 Please do join in again – it would be brilliant to welcome you back.
      Zoe recently posted..Playing by the book’s International Edible Book Festival 2013

    9. zohra jabeen

      Its all very new and exciting for us. How to make and what to make of an edible book, the family will put thinking caps on.

      • Hello Zohra! Would be really lovely to have you take part in the Edible Book Festival – if you’ve any questions, just leave a comment or email me!

    10. […] of the event and will be helping Zoe to judge the competition.  All the details can be found in this post and it would be lovely to see as many people as possible getting […]

    11. […] is that time of year again: Playing by the Book’s International Edible Book Festival!!! Last year we had such fun entering the edible book competition… well worth the fabulous fun […]

    12. […] (or indeed some other kind of food, there were amazing creations) you might like to enter the Edible book festival competition over on Playing by the Book. Here are our entries, which got lovely comments, but […]

    13. I love this idea! I made a book-inspired birthday cake for my baby’s first birthday but it’s all gone now 🙂
      Catherine Prescott recently posted..Have your cake and read it

    14. What a wonderful and fun contest, Zoe. Thanks for contributing this post to this month’s Carnival of Children’s Literature!

    15. […] Looking for a fun and delicious challenge to ward off cabin fever? Why not enter Playing by the Book’s 2nd Annual International Edible Book […]

    16. […] are just a couple of days left to enter the Edible Book Festival… and you really do want to […]

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