On Saturday, February 2, 2020, the Olive Writers and the American Language Center—Casablanca, in partnership with the American Language Center—Fes, and the U.S. Embassy—Rabat, organized a creative writing workshop with American writers Anthony David and Lucas Peters.
Out of 76 applicants, 22 young writers between the ages of 16-25 were selected to attend the workshop. All of our participants came from the Meknes-Fes region and were eager to showcase the talent that abounds in the region.
Our young writers read and analyzed selected works, learned about character development, stylistics, and plotting a fictional work. In addition, they spent time focusing on the concept of conflict in the story and had an opportunity to talk about some of the conflicts that they face on a daily basis, whether external or internal.
After lunch, the participants were asked to write a short story that would help their readers learn something about them and recount a conflict that they had lived through at some point in their lives. The short-story should be intended for a U.S. audience. They first met in small groups to brainstorm and talk about the writing prompts, then they had time to work individually on their writing projects.
After the freewriting period, a few participants read excerpts from their stories, then the instructors walked the students through the revision process.
The participants were given one week after the workshop to finish revising their stories and submit them to the instructors. Three writers were selected for individualized mentoring and given the chance to refine their work with the assistance of the instructors. Their stories will appear soon on the Journey Beyond Travel blog. Congratulations to the selected writers: Doha Tamri (Fes), Doha Arrad (Fes), and Adam Nyang (Gambia).
We are grateful to everyone who worked to make this event a success. Special thanks to Richard Martin (director of the ALC—Casablanca), David Amster (director of the ALC—Fes), and to the staff of ALC—Fes for their involvement and support.
And lastly, we’d like to welcome the workshop participants into the Olive Writers’ alumni community.
“I'll always have love for Mohammed and his projects, mainly because they're always so well-organized and well-planned, but also because of the atmosphere they always seem to take on. An atmosphere of love, unity, and passion that I'll always cherish. This workshop was no different. The instructors, Anthony David and Lucas Peters were so patient, charismatic and an amazing help, and I'll go as far as crediting them for curing my writer's block. The coordinator, Mohammed, is nothing short of amazing as well. Always so kind and attentive and I'll always admire his passion for his projects and how dedicated he is to bring young talent to the forefront. All in all, this was by far the best day I've had in 2020 so far. The Olive Writers remains the best thing to happen to young Moroccan writers in the last 20 years.” Ahmed Beqqali
“Being part of this workshop felt more or less like riding the time traveling DMC Delorean from Back to the Future. It was a bubble where time or space did not have any meaning. All that which existed were limitless stocks of creativity and dreamy ideas flying all over the place. On that sunny winter day, magic was practiced at the ALC of Fez” Khalil Ismaili Alaloui
“The moment I was selected to take part in the regional Olive Writers workshop held in Fez, I knew that a whole new experience is waiting me ahead. I have never thought about writing stories because I have always believed that I don’t really have much skill for the task. However; this lack of trust in my writing skills has remarkably diminished the moment I met Lucas and Anthony. Those two great writers, with their great professionalism and sweet sense of humor made me change my vision about writing. They pumped a new drive within me to regain trust in myself and write down my experiences and feelings in the form of a story. This workshop made me learn the very basics of writing which were translated to me as a beginner in a very simple way. Now, as I am writing my very first short story to be sent to Lucas to edit I feel indebted to all the ones who have taken part in making me reach to this far and who have made the event a success.” Amina Attar.
“Sunday the second of February,2020, might be a casual day off for most people, for me it would have been another day spent in bed, anxious how I’ll survive it… But thanks to Olive Writers, it has become one of the best days I can think of and smile, a day where I could finally talk about writing with local writers from different ages, in a very warm and tolerant environment…A chance to be tutored by two amazing American creative minds: Mr. Anthony David, Mr Lucas Peters. Thank you everyone for being there….” Nada Naji