Meet Our 2019 Alumni

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

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

Hello, I'm Sara Boulhaoua. 

I am 20 years old and I am from a small village near Ouled Teima, which is near Agadir. 

I studied English literature at the University of Ait Melloul.

A friend shared the link to The Olive Writers' website and I applied right away, although it did take me awhile to write the writing assignments.

Writing is a refuge in which I can put down my feelings and it reflects everything that is inside me. Writing is my own world, my own kingdom where I am the queen and I can write anything I want, so it means a lot to me.

The summer camp was a great experience. Normally, I don't write that much, but I promised myself that if I were to be picked to participate in the program, I would make writing a part of my daily life. The program gave me so much inspiration, so much advice and so much energy that it was like a dream for me.

I learned how to always be active as a writer, and I learned a lot about translation theory. I am applying for a master's degree in translation and cross-cultural communication, so what I learned about translation will be very useful. And beyond what we learned in our workshops and seminars, we had the chance to have wonderful conversations with published writers, with our instructors and with our peers.

 At the camp, I also got to meet new people from around the world, which gave me a lot of motivation and inspiration to keep moving forward and to improve myself.

By the way, I traveled to Casablanca alone. It was the first time I had ever left the Souss, so it was an exceptional trip for me and a wonderful experience.

I'm Hajar Oughchi. I'm 17 years old and I'm from Ait Melloul.

The Olive Writers' Summer Camp was really an exceptional and different experience. It allowed me to meet creative and talented young people from different cities and villages all across Morocco. It was an honor to get to meet them, and I'm glad to have had the chance to create so many new friendships.

I do hope our friendships will last and remain as strong as they were during the six days of the camp. And I look forward to the day when we will be able to read each other's work when we are published authors.

Hello, I am Azeddine Dazia and I'm from Sidi Bennour, which is near Marrakech.

I'm a second year student in the department of economics.

I came to the summer camp to learn new things about creative writing and to meet new people. I learned about the craft of writing and I was motivated to write and to express myself. I learned that I have something to share with other people, and I also learned a great deal from what my peers shared with me.

I had been searching for an opportunity to learn more about writing, and I am very grateful I was selected for the summer camp. Writing is my life. It is a friend I can tell things to that I don’t feel like I can say to my friends or my family.

Thanks to this summer camp, I have proved to myself that I have the ability to be a great writer, and I learned so much from the other participants who are from cities and villages across Morocco. It was the first time I met people from Tangier, Oujda, Agadir, and all over the country. I made strong friendships with them and learned a lot about the diversity of Morocco.

My name is Rihane Zoubairi and I'm from Rabat.

I came to The Olive Writers' Summer Camp because writing is a really exciting and important part of my life. I think the camp is an excellent opportunity for anyone who is into writing and literature—and art in general—because it allows us to learn so much.

I can't even put it into words the amount of things I learned at the camp. It exceeded my expectations, and it wasn’t only about learning, but also about the people we met and the way we connected and bonded. Right now, I feel like we are all one big family and it's just so sad that the camp had to end at some point. But these are bonds that won't just dissolve, so that's great. The bonds we created were not only with the other Olive Writers, but also with the staff and the instructors and the guest lecturers. It felt really great to forge those relationships and I went back home with a warm heart. I feel complete.

 It's hard to choose just one highlight from the camp, but I loved the creative writing workshops. We learned how to find inspiration and where stories come from. Another highlight was the talent show. Everyone shared because we had created an environment where we could be vulnerable and where everyone felt safe, and I think that was very important. 

My name is Hajar Bamoussa and I'm 20 years old.

I was born in Casablanca, but I grew up in Imintanout, which is a very small town between Marrakech and Agadir.

When I first applied for The Olive Writers' Summer Camp, I didn’t dare to identify as a writer. I would always avoid talking about the fact that I write or show my work to people. But after attending the workshops, I started getting back the spark I had lost and I've become more confident in my abilities.

I've always preferred writing over speaking. I usually think in images, so it is hard for me to translate those chaotic images into words and to organize them into sentences and meaningful paragraphs. Creative writing enabled me to have an organized and logical thought process.

Writing is therapeutic for me. It allows me to relax and focus whether it's a small fictional piece or an article. I enjoy writing about my surroundings and things that represent my culture. This habit was encouraged by my parents and my English high school teacher, Hind Chatoui, whom I respect and cherish.

I am currently pursuing a graduate degree in translation, but I've always somewhat feared literary translation because I thought I couldn't be faithful enough to the work. The literary translation seminar was enjoyable, and I'm currently definitely thinking about translating some literary works now.

I feel very thankful because there are very few fully funded opportunities for Moroccans on a national and international level, and this is a great initiative. The coordinators and staff of The Olive Writers are doing a wonderful job of creating a safe space for us youth. It's basically a life-changing experience. That might be a cliché term, but it truly was, and I'm very appreciative of The Olive Writers' work, and I hope there will be more opportunities like this one.

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