By Hannah Himes

For The Diamondback

Students and other members of the University of Maryland community showcased creative and edible depictions of various novels in Hornbake Plaza on Monday.

The University Libraries has been hosting the Edible Book Festival since 2013, when former librarian Eric Cartier introduced the idea, said Aaron Ginoza, the social media coordinator for University Libraries.

"[The event] can reconnect you to the love of literature, to the love of reading," Ginoza said. "[That] can be tough to cultivate when you're so busy."

One of the main purposes is to create a pretext for people to have fun, he added.

This competition is held worldwide, and since its introduction at this university, participants have continued its creativity. In order to participate in the event, entrants must create an edible book through "the integration of text, literary inspiration or, quite simply, the form," according to the festival's site rules.

Participants, which consisted of students, faculty and staff of this university, displayed their work. Any individual attending the event, or just passing by, was able to cast a vote for their favorite creation.

This year, entries ranged from "Big Little Fries," featuring McDonald's fries on a plate, to "Mulch to do About Nothing," an entry composed of a pile of campus mulch, sparking mild controversy when viewers claimed it wasn't edible.

"If I had to choose between eating mulch or kale, I'd have to think about it," said Lucia Stainer, a sophomore aerospace engineering major.

This year, awards were announced for first and second place for best in show, as well as least appetizing.

Ginoza's creation, "Mulch to do About Nothing" won least appetizing. Stacey Mannuel, a junior bioengineering major, also contributed to the edible book's design.

One of the most popular entries was entitled, "The Handmaid's Kale," created by Eric Bartheld, who serves as director of communications for University Libraries. His entry featured a stalk of kale, boasting a red paper napkin cloak and topped with a white hat.

"I can picture her walking around my house, just being healthy," said Douvonte Farmer, a University Libraries employee.

Other visitors flocked to the "Tart of Darkness," created by Tiffany Hobson, a third year graduate student studying history and library science. Hobson's entry, composed mainly of dark chocolate tart, won first place for best in show.

"Conceptually strong [and] visually appealing. Looks like it might taste good," said Cindy Nelson, a graphic designer for this university's agriculture and natural resources college, of Hobson's entry.

Senior animal sciences major Joanna Bell's "The Red Velvet(een) Rabbit" was awarded second place for best in show. Her bunny creation was covered in purple fondant and filled with red velvet cake.

"Masterfully crafted. I'm impressed by that," said Ashley Haddix, a graduate student studying library sciences, of Bell's entry.

CORRECTION: Due to an editing error, a previous version of this article incorrectly labeled one of the festival entries as "Mulch Ado About Nothing." The name was "Mulch to do About Nothing. The article has been updated.