Meet Our 2019 Alumni

We're proud to present our TOW '19 cohort!

Read on to meet this year's Summer Camp participants.

My name is Hiba Benjeddou. 

I'm 16 years old and I'm from Sidi Yahya El Gharb, which is a small village next to Kenitra.



My writing experience began when I was 8 years old. I read a lot of Agatha Christie's novels and I was inspired to write detective novels as well. So, that's where it began. I started writing novels and short stories (and sometimes even poems) in English, French and Arabic, but in the end, I stuck with English because it's the language I feel most comfortable in. I started posting my writing online and I got feedback, and that's what I plan to continue to do in the future.

I heard about The Olive Writers through an alumna named Imane Elbacha. We met at the Race to Space program's Space Camp and she told me about how unforgettable her experience with The Olive Writers had been and she recommended the program to me. So, as soon as I saw it on Facebook I thought, "So, this is the program!"

It was a great experience to be here. I made a lot of friends and they've become like my own family. I found my people, the ones I can share everything with, the ones who don’t just see writing as something that's weird or unusual or seen as useless in society. Writing is beautiful and art is beautiful!

 The instructors were really helpful, whether it was translation or creative writing or critical thinking. It was incredible to meet such awesome mentors and to have a chance to learn from them.

 


Hello, my name is Haytham Chhilif and I am 22 years old. 

I’m from Errachidia. I'm currently doing an MA in gender studies at the university in Fez.



I came to The Olive Writers' Summer Camp after being accepted following a rigorous application process. It was rigorous, but it was definitely worth it. I could have never imagined how I’d feel after the camp. I've learned so much and I’ve been so inspired by the people I met. Everyone I met through The Olive Writers—including the instructors—have been the nicest and kindest people I have ever met in my entire life.

Ever since I can remember, writing has been a part of my life, and one thing I can say for sure is that having gone through this experience, writing has become the focal point of my life. From now on, I will devote everything I can not only to improving upon what I’ve learned at The Olive Writers, but also to commemorate everything I experienced at the camp and to make the instructors say, "Wow, that guy was worth inviting and accepting into the program!"

I would not be lying if I said that everything I've learned here—from beginning to end—has been a highlight. But what really stuck with me were the critical thinking and leadership seminars we had early on. I was really pleasantly surprised to see those seminars at a creative writing program. They allowed me to become familiar with subjects I have been curious about for as long as I can remember. Ever since I started attending university, I've been hearing about critical thinking, but I couldn’t figure out what exactly “critical thinking” meant, despite quite a bit of my own independent research—and now I know!

 

Hello, my name is Asmae Bouchichaoun. I’m 20 years old and I'm from Ouarzazate.

I’m a Cinematic Audiovisual Management student.

Frankly, my experience at The Olive Writers’ 2019 Summer Camp was the most beautiful and the best experience. The Olive Writers’ staff and instructors taught me a lot in terms of writing style and how to best develop creative writing projects.

Over the six beautiful and entertaining days at the camp, I formed friendships with my fellow participants, and we got to know each other and to discover the talents within each of us.

Generally all the workshops, activities, visits, meals, accommodations, and the general welcome were wonderful. Saying thanks is not enough to thank everyone who contributed to the preparation of this camp. It has been a useful step in my life, and thanks to the crew, my experience at The Olive Writers’ Summer Camp was so amazing. It gave me new energy for writing, and I wish I could come back for another experience.


 
Hello, I'm Hiba Arrame.

I'm from Oujda and I’m 20 years old.

I think The Olive Writers program was very successful in achieving what it was made for, it's extremely important because it gave and will give a voice to many, like me and the wonderful people I got to share this experience with.

For me, writing is an outlet. It's something I use to express things that I wouldn't otherwise be able to express. And I believe that it's really important that everyone be given this chance because there are so many creative and talented young people out there who probably wouldn't be able to discover that they have a gift for writing if it weren't for a program or mentor. I encourage all young people to participate in The Olive Writers so they can benefit from the experience, too.

At the camp, I had the chance to meet amazing people. I learned that being open is the key—being open and accepting, being understanding of everyone's feelings and background is really important because otherwise, we wouldn't be able to survive among each other.

Everyone at the camp was really kind to each other and there was an amazing energy here, and thanks to the camp, I came to realize that everyone has a voice that deserves to be heard.




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