A Letter From the Director

The second edition of The Olive Writers' flagship program, the Summer Camp, drew to a close on August 3, 2019. Thanks to our partnership with the American Language Center – Casablanca and the generous support of the International Writing Program, we were able to bring 23 young writers from all across Morocco together for six incredible days of writing, learning and fellowship.

Our 2019 participants were a diverse and dynamic bunch: over 70 percent of them came from beyond the Tangier-Rabat-Casablanca axis, and some 25 percent came from towns with fewer than 50,000 inhabitants. We are grateful to all who shared our call for applications far and wide, and we are committed to continuing to expand our reach beyond Morocco’s urban zones and to growing our programming to support writing in Tamazight.

During the six days of the 2019 Summer Camp, our participants attended daily creative writing workshops, met leading writers from around the world, honed their skills of critical thinking and public speaking, learned the basics of literary translation and playwriting, visited Casablanca’s historic Habbous neighborhood, hosted a talent show, attended a film screening at Dar America and formed lifelong bonds with their peers.

We would like to thank our instructors, guest lecturers and visiting writers, who enriched our programming immeasurably.


Creative Writing Workshop Instructors:

Ben Bush (fiction, nonfiction, journalism; U.S.A.)

Soukaina HabibAllah (fiction, poetry, screenwriting, Morocco)



Achraf Mansouri Kabbouri (critical thinking and public speaking)

Hodna Nuernberg (literary translation)


Dar America Lecturer:

Hicham Lasri (filmmaking and screenwriting)


Guest Speakers:

Anthony David, “Writing From Conflict”

Rachida Roky, “Le Réseau de lecture au Maroc: Encouraging Young People to Read”

Sharidan Russell, “Is Darija a Literary Language?”


Visiting Writers:

Farah Achbab (blogging; Morocco)

Hasna Aitlahssen (fiction; Morocco)

Fatena Al Ghorra (journalism, poetry; Palestine/Belgium)

Hoda Barakat (fiction, translation; Lebanon/France)

Said Elfalak (criticism, fiction; Morocco)

Edward Hamlin (fiction; U.S.A.)

Zineb Laadioui (journalism, poetry; Morocco)

Mehdi Pyro (playwriting; Morocco)

Abdelmajid Sebbata (fiction, translation; Morocco)


We would also like to give special thanks to Rachel Holskin (Executive Secretary, American Cultural Association), Christopher Merrill (Director, International Writing Program), Hugh Ferrer (Associate Director, International Writing Program), Kelly Bedeian (Assistant Director and Grant Administrator, University of Iowa), Mary Rodeghier Martin (Deputy Director, Dar America) and Stephen Kochuba (Director, Dar America and Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy – Casablanca).

And our heartfelt gratitude goes out to Richard Martin, Sarah Ernst and the rest of the staff at the American Language Center – Casablanca, whose partnership and unflagging support made our programming possible.

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