You'll fall hook, line & sinker for this free kids' show in Keighley

Award winning author Oliver Sykes will perform a one man show based on his book Fishing For Rainbows as part of Keighley Children's Literature Festival this May

An award-winning children's writer is bringing a totally free show inspired by his own family's fishing escapades to the Keighley Children's Literature Festival.

Author and performer Oliver Sykes, 34, was one of six kids brought up on the breadline by his single parent dad on a council estate in the Peak District.

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When the children's mum suddenly walked out on the family, dad Chris quit his factory job to look after his children. They survived on free school meals and yellow-stickered, cut price items from the supermarket, supplementing their diet by hunting and fishing, as was common in his dad's Romany culture.

Oliver Sykes performs Fishing For Rainbows at Keighley Library on Saturday 11 MayOliver Sykes performs Fishing For Rainbows at Keighley Library on Saturday 11 May
Oliver Sykes performs Fishing For Rainbows at Keighley Library on Saturday 11 May

And so fishing became an important part of Oliver's childhood, as both an adventure-filled family day out and a way to put a cheap and nutritious meal on the table.

Now Oliver is touring a show based on his second children's book, Fishing for Rainbows, which has just been longlisted for the 2024 Children’s Literature Festivals Book Awards. It was published in May 2023. He will be performing at Keighley Library on Saturday 11 May as part of Keighley Children's Literature Festival.

Suitable for audiences aged 5+, the stage adaptation of Fishing For Rainbows tells the story of strong-minded siblings Kezia, Duke and Danior Boswell.

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Since their mum passed away, the family has fallen into a strict routine. The boys and Dad go out fishing whilst 12-year old Kezia stays at home to tidy and cook.

Author Oliver fishing with dog LunaAuthor Oliver fishing with dog Luna
Author Oliver fishing with dog Luna

But Kezia has a plan, one that could transform her from a modern-day Cinderella into a super cool fishergirl.

Fishing For Rainbows follows Oliver's successful stage version of his first book, Alfie's First Fight. Published in 2022, the book was named Illustrated Young Reader of the Year at the 2023 Children’s Literature Festivals Book Award. Influenced by his family's love for boxing, the Alfie's First Fight show toured to 60 venues across England and Wales, including libraries, theatres, schools and even boxing clubs.

Oliver said: "Fishing for Rainbows is inspired by my childhood, when I would often go out fishing with my dad and brothers.

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"The character of Kezia was created for my little sister Amber, who says she always felt sad not to be invited on the fishing trips.

"It is a story about families, loss and reaching for the stars."

The Fishing for Rainbows stage show is supported by Big Imaginations, Z-Arts and Touchstones, and was created using public funding from Arts Council England. It is written and performed by Oliver Sykes and directed by Dominic Berry.

Fishing For Rainbows is at Keighley Library, North Street Keighley BD21 3SX on Saturday 11 May 2024 at 11am and 1pm. Tickets are free but must be pre-booked

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