Oliver went to Edinburgh University (1986-1990) and took an MA in History. He was a journalist, first on local newspapers, then the Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday and spent the bulk of his time on Fleet Street at the Observer where he mainly covered business, industry, energy and labour relations. He has also written for the New Statesman, Index on Censorship, The Sunday Telegraph and he did a programme (Profile) for the BBC.
He also did an MA in Creative and Life writing at Goldsmiths, which he loved, and went on to achieve a distinction.
He now resides in Suffolk with his wife and family and spends as much time fishing on the river and walking in the forests as he can.