On February 9, 2020, the Olive Writers hosted a talk and an info-session at "Window on America," the shared ALC/Dar America stand.
The Casablanca International Book Fair is an annual event that brings together book lovers and literature enthusiasts from across Morocco and all over the world. Publishing houses, universities, associations, and ministries offer up hundreds of books for sale to interested readers. Furthermore, many associations make the most of the fair’s massive attendance to hold informational sessions and raise awareness of their programming.
So, on February 9, 2020, the Olive Writers hosted an informational session followed by a panel discussion and a writing workshop to help raise our profile and invite aspiring young writers into our ever-growing creative community.
The beauty of the book fair lies in the fact that it brings together great numbers of like-minded people who share a genuine interest in literature. Fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and academic writing are all equally celebrated by the visitors who roam the serpentine passages looking for their next prey: an interesting book on a shelf that remains as-yet untouched and unseen.
It was in the midst of this beautiful chaos that the Olive Writers’ program officers Soukaina HabibAllah and Hodna Nuernberg presented our flagship program, the Summer Camp, to the audience in both Arabic and English. They discussed the program’s admission process and goals – namely, to provide intensive instruction on the craft of literary writing, to connect young Moroccan writers to a global network of established authors, and to foster a strong creative community.
This discussion was followed by a panel discussion with some of the program’s 2019 alumni, who shared their experiences with the audience. All alumni emphasized how nurturing the Olive Writers experience had been and how much it had contributed to encouraging their interest in writing and the literary world in general.
“After the six days had passed by, I knew writing was no longer just a passion but a part of my identity.” –Haytham Chhilif, TOW '19
The informational session was concluded with a mini-workshop titled “On Writing,” which was led by Soukaina HabibAllah, a novelist and author of several collections of short stories and poetry. Participants were challenged to write brief passages from the point of view of an item they had on their person. After a freewriting period, a few brave volunteers stood up to share what they had written.
We would like to thank everyone who attended our informational session. We are looking forward to seeing you next year!