The Olive Writers Summer Camp wrapped up following a successful fifth edition, organized in partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, the American Arts Center Casablanca (AAC), and the D66 International.
The Summer Camp took place between July 14 and 20 at the American Arts Center in Casablanca (AAC) and brought together young writers from all over the Kingdom and abroad.
This camp, which spanned over a week, featured several activities at an intensive writing residency in Casablanca free of charge, during which campers attended daily creative writing workshops, in Arabic and English, attended lectures by renowned writers and intellectuals, developed a set of soft skills, explored civic engagement and the publishing industry, and produced a creative project of their own.
This edition was held under the theme “Life in the Temporary: Journeys of the Hearts”, and explored the complex relationship that youth have with their home country and the thought of leaving to pursue a better life elsewhere.
Many youth regard migration as a means of achieving their dreams and adventures and attaining freedom from the constraints of their present situation.
This year’s theme was an opportunity to delve deeply into the meanings of certain words, such as stability, tranquillity, place, belonging, home, migration, displacement, transition, and waiting, generating wide-ranging conversations, through a rich program with writers and intellectuals from the field.
Through their participation in the Olive Writers Summer Camp, young writers had the opportunity to explore their own sentiments and experiences surrounding migration, as well as those of their peers, and to reflect on the impact of this phenomenon on their communities and society at large.
The Camp included several workshops including creative writing, storytelling, cultural management, personal branding, and self-publishing among different other topics.
In an exclusive interview with Morocco Times TV, Director of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation’s office in Morocco, Sebastian Vagt, explained that his foundation supports the Olive Writers Summer Camp since it promotes young writers, noting that “our foundation’s work is based on the values of tolerance and diversity.”
“We believe that writers are very powerful because they express themselves in an artistic and inspirational way which is interesting to an audience,” stated Vagt, adding that these writers “share their own perspectives on life and different things, and they can be a real inspiration and open up minds to diversity and accepting people to be different. ”
In a similar regard, Vagt stressed that Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom operates in several fields, such as politics and non-governmental work, underlining that the Foundation aims to “promote young future leaders if it is in entrepreneurship, in politics, or civil society.”
Vagt also added that participants in the camp are emerging writers, and are a bit away from being autonomous in their writing careers, concluding that “we hope that this camp can gift them the push to gain more self-confidence, more capacities, but also a bit more reputation so they can succeed in the future.”
For her part, Nigerian-Nordic-American Writer and Teacher Faith Adiele expressed her delight in her first participation in such an event in Morocco, adding that “I love to work with young people, particularly kind of diverse groups of folks, to really help them come up with narratives.”
Adiele also noted that this edition’s theme is relevant to her life as a person, a traveler, and a writer, explaining that “this year’s theme, Journeys of the Hearts, is very connected to what I do because I focus on travel memoirs, so it’s all about the physical and psychic journeys we take to create homes that embrace all of us.”
In addition, Adiele emphasized the importance of reading as a tool to open up to new cultures and values, explore the guidelines of writing, and engage in conversations with the writers’ community.
“It is so important to empower young people to write their realities, but also to connect them with history through reading,” concluded Adiele.
The Olive Writers is a literary arts association based in Casablanca, Morocco, and it works to support writers at all levels by offering opportunities for networking, personal and professional development, and mobilizing participants to inspire, teach, and promote social change.
The Olive Writers program aims to hone participants’ skills as creative writers while also putting them in contact with other writers to mentor them, providing wider exposure for their creative work, introducing them to the publishing world, and providing them with access to national and international support networks of fellow young writers.