Oliver Sykes

Oliver Sykes

Article, Children's author, Playwright, Poet

Booking enquiry
Oliver Sykes - author tools

Available for

Workshop, Talk, Reading, Interview, Commission a book


Age 5 to 7, Age 7 to 11


Fiction, Poetry, Short story, Sport, Stage/Screen

Book types

Fiction for children







I am an award-winning, self-produced, independent Children’s Fiction Writer/Performer and Arts Practitioner. I am also an experienced, fully DBS-checked workshop facilitator, and am able to deliver drama and/or creative writing workshops. I have also guest-lecturered at Manchester Metropolitan University and Lancaster University. 

“Oliver’s creative writing workshops are profound. He works incredibly well with a mixed-ability group, creates a safe space for our pupils who feel comfortable exploring their lives and expressing themselves at what is a crucial point in their lives. It was a joy to watch.” Cringle Brook Primary School, Levenshulme

My standard one-hour workshop explores both the forms and themes of my award-winning debut children’s book, Alfie’s First Fight.

These include:

  • Using autobiography to inspire creativity
  • Characterisation
  • Comedy
  • Solo Devising
  • Storytelling

Working with young people from all different backgrounds, my workshop aims to build confidence and find creative ways to empower participants to tell their own stories.

“Interesting, fun and inspiring.” Alberto (11), Longsight

“I really enjoyed the activity, especially writing for myself without having the pressure to perform or share it.” Musfirah (12), Moss Side

“My favourite thing about the workshop was performing a monologue as a member of my family.” Erin (8), Burnage

I would love to visit your school and play a part in getting your pupils excited and inspired to tell their own stories.

​(Bear in mind that visits will additionally be charged travel expenses - I live in Denbigh, North Wales and charge petrol at 45p a mile)

Half Day Visit

£200 (plus travel expenses)

I’ll facilitate one classroom workshop, featuring stories and poems that are inspired by my own life experiences. I’ll talk about the link between lived experience and creative writing, and how I believe the key to writing great stories is to try and write ‘a story only you can tell’.

I’ll then support your pupils to discuss their own lives with a partner and come up with a title for a short story that is inspired by a real life event of their own. I’ll then share my top author tip on how to write an amazing first sentence that will be sure to have their reader ‘hooked’ and we’ll have a go at writing and sharing our opening sentences.

The workshop is designed to reach children of all abilities – including children who believe that reading and writing stories aren’t for them! The workshop will generally last about 60 mins, with 10 mins devoted to a Q&A at the start.

After a break, I’ll then perform my critically acclaimed one-person family-theatre show, Alfie’s First Fight, in a full assembly setting.

‘With a plucky underdog to root for, and a mystery to solve, the show will appeal to children of all backgrounds while giving them an insight into the lives of others… If you enter with any preconceptions about boxers in your mind, this eloquent, thoughtful and gentle performer will quickly shatter them.’ The Family Stage

Then, if appropriate, I’ll sell and sign books. I am able to bring copies of my books directly to the school.


Full Day Visit

£300 (plus travel expenses)

​The same as a half-day visit, but more so, with two/three classroom workshops and one/two performance(s), followed by selling and signing books.

​Please ask if there is anything specifically you'd like me to cover. I am an experienced writing coach, so can deliver bespoke sessions on character development, world building, three-act-structure, etc.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Books by Oliver Sykes

I am an award-winning, self-produced, independent Children’s Fiction Writer/Performer and Arts Practitioner. My first book, Alfie’s First Fight, was published in 2022 (Stories Of Care & Man Met Uni) and won ‘Best Indie-Published Young Illustrated Reader’ at the 2023 Children’s Literature Festivals Book Awards. Featuring boxing action, surprising plot twists, compelling characters and an inspiring boy-hero, this funny and heart-warming story is inspired by my own experiences growing up in a low-income, single parent family of boxers. In 2023, I added Fishing For Rainbows (Stories Of Care & Man Met Uni) to my list of books, heralded by Carnegie-award-winning author, Anthony McGowan, as ‘Simply brilliant!’ My debut poetry collection, We Are Family: Six Kids and a Super-Dad (Otter-Barry Books), is currently in production and scheduled for publication in May 2024. I am have also just finished the Alfie’s First Fight sequel, Alfie and the Thief.
Alfie's First Fight

Alfie's First Fight

WINNER – 2023 CHILDREN’S LITERATURE FESTIVALS BOOK AWARDS ‘COMPELLING’ ALEX WHEATLE ‘GRIPPING’ RICKY HATTON ‘THRILLING’ SOPHIE WILLAN Featuring boxing action, surprising plot twists, compelling characters and an inspiring boy-hero, this story certainly packs a punch! Inspired by Oliver’s own experiences growing up without a mum and being coached as an amateur boxer by his dad, Alfie’s First Fight centres itself around shy twelve-year-old Alfie, as he decides to go in search of his missing older brother, Jacob, moments before an all-important boxing match… Alfie and his dad have a big problem. Alfie’s big brother, Jacob has disappeared moments before an all-important boxing match. While searching for him, Alfie encounters two shifty-looking men who sound like they’ll do anything to get their dirty hands on the prize-money. Soon, Alfie finds himself trapped in the heart of a scandal. Can Alfie safely return Jacob to the ring in time…? Or will he have to take his big brother’s place…? It’s Crime-Thriller meets Rocky! Perfect for fans of Jacqueline Wilson, Anthony McGowan and Phil Earle! 
Fishing For Rainbows

Fishing For Rainbows

‘BRILLIANT’ ANTHONY MCGOWAN ‘CHARMING’ E. L. NORRY ‘COMPELLINGLY DELIGHTFUL’ DOM CONLAN Featuring fearless fishing action, surprising plot twists, compelling characters and an inspiring girl-hero, this story is guaranteed to reel you in for an unforgettable adventure! Inspired by Oliver’s own experiences, bring raised in poverty by his single-parent dad of Romany heritage, Fishing For Rainbows follows 12-year-old Kezia, and her boisterous twin brothers, Duke and Danior, who too are growing up in a single parent family after the death of their mum. While her brothers regularly fish with their dad, Kezia stays at home, cooking and cleaning, until on day, when she is called upon to prove what she can do with a fishing rod… What could possibly go wrong…? Perfect for fans of Jacqueline Wilson, Phil Earle and Anthony McGowan! 
Tales of the Bold the Brave and the Beautiful

Tales of the Bold the Brave and the Beautiful

From a new wave of breathtakingly brilliant children's writers - eleven brand-new original tales featuring the boldest, the bravest and the most beautiful cast of characters this side of anywhere! * Like Jumpy Jess - a girl on a mission to catch a vampire before it catches her! * Or Daring Dermot - a boy-singer who lies his way to the top of the global music charts! * Like Courageous Kimberley - a girl whose life is thrown into chaos when she discovers a lump under her arm! * And who could forget? Amazing Alfie - a boy who volunteers to take his older brother's place in the boxing ring against the big, beastly Boy-Giant! Rock with laughter! Gulp with fear! Gasp with shock! Whoop with cheer! Prepare to be spellbound by this groundbreaking collection of stupendous stories that you'll be sure to come back to time and time again!  
Tales of the Weird the Wild and the Wonderful

Tales of the Weird the Wild and the Wonderful

Tales of the Weird, the Wild and the Wonderful is the first of its kind: a dazzling collection of short stories, jam-packed with rambunctious characters on daring adventures – written exclusively by Care Leavers for children. Discover why Franny Georgette Tinkleboom has been travelling around the world in a van that has giant mouse ears… And why Spike, the most mischievous hedgehog in Rivington Pike, keeps wandering off into the dark night… And what happens when you drink a wicked orange potion like Alicia Moonfall… ‘A celebration of what it is to be a fighting spirit in a world, which prefers you to be quiet and get on’ writes Lemn Sissay. ‘The value is inestimable and beyond measure… Enjoy this vital work as a celebration of what it is to be young, creative and empowered’. 


Oliver Sykes - first image
Oliver Sykes - first image
Oliver Sykes - first image