2023 CHILDREN’S LITERATURE FESTIVALS BOOK AWARDS – WINNER
2022 MANCHESTER PEOPLE’S CULTURE AWARD – NOMINEE
2022 BRITISH CITIZEN AWARD MEDALLIST
2022 LITERACY CHAMPION
Oliver Sykes is an award-winning, self-produced, independent Children’s Fiction Writer/Performer and Arts Practitioner.
His first book, Alfie’s First Fight, was published in 2022 (Stories Of Care & Manchester Metropolitan University) and won ‘Best Indie-Published Young Illustrated Reader’ at the 2023 Children’s Literature Festivals Book Awards, as well as receiving endorsements from Alex Wheatle MBE and Ricky Hatton MBE.
Featuring boxing action, surprising plot twists, compelling characters and an inspiring boy-hero, this funny and heart-warming story is inspired by Oliver’s own experiences growing up in a low-income, single parent family of boxers.
In the same year, Oliver adapted Alfie’s First Fight into a one-man stage show of the same name for children aged 5+, and toured the show to 42 venues across the UK, including schools, libraries, theatres and boxing clubs. To date (04/07/2023), this critically acclaimed show has reached 2,959 live audience members (avg. 80 per audience).
In 2023, Oliver added Fishing For Rainbows (Stories Of Care & Manchester Metropolitan University) to his list of books, heralded by Carnegie-award-winning author, Anthony McGowan, as ‘Simply brilliant!’
Oliver has also adapted Fishing For Rainbows into a one-man stage show, which will tour throughout 2024, commissioned by Big Imaginations.
Oliver’s debut poetry collection, We Are Family: Six Kids and a Super-Dad (Otter-Barry Books), is currently in production and scheduled for publication in Spring 2024. Oliver is also currently writing the Alfie’s First Fight sequel, Alfie and the Thief.
Over the past decade, Oliver has worked as a producer, mentor and creative collaborator, supporting the early careers of many artists whose voices are under-represented in the Arts, including Sophie Willan and Jackie Hagan to name but a few.
In 2015, Oliver began working as Producer at Stories Of Care, a non-profit writing organization, founded by Sophie Willan. His role soon evolved from producing to becoming a core member of the creative team, and it was during this project that Oliver discovered his natural talent and flair for children’s writing.
In 2017, he contributed his first short story to Tales of the Weird, the Wild and the Wonderful (Barbican Press) and from 2020-22 he led the Stories Of Care team to support an exceptional group of new and exciting young writers from low-income, single parent and care-experienced backgrounds, to write their first short story for children. The hotly anticipated second anthology Tales of the Bold, the Brave and the Beautiful (Stories Of Care & Manchester Metropolitan University) was published in June 2022 and is endorsed by Dame Jacqueline Wilson, Alex Wheatle and many more!
In Jan 2022, the British Citizen Awards officially recognised Oliver for his positive impact within the arts community. Of Oliver, they said, “Having overcome a difficult start in life, he has used his experiences as fuel to overcome challenges and barriers of class and social mobility to build his own career in the arts, after which, he has actively created progression routes to help thousands of other marginalised young people do the same.”
Sophie Willan, Writer & Star of BBC2 Alma’s Not Normal
“A self-starter, a maverick and a creative force to be reckoned with.”