Dr Tom Sykes
I am a widely published author, editor, journalist and literary historian with interests in travel writing, creative nonfiction, international relations, radical politics, postcolonial literature, historiography, psychogeography, historical materialism and community journalism.
My most recent book is The Realm of the Punisher (Signal Books), a 'political travelogue' of the Philippines which, according to the Times Literary Supplement, ‘conveys in an affectionate, unpatronizing tone the many layers of injustice that run through the Philippines, and uses interviews and site visits to try to explain the eccentric ways and popular appeal of its more muscular leaders.’ I am also the author of Ivory Coast (Bradt Publications), a commercially successful travel guide that blends reportage and political analysis with practical advice.
My journalism has appeared in Private Eye, New Statesman, The Scotsman, The Telegraph, New Internationalist, Monocle, New African, Red Pepper, Travel Africa, South East Asia Globe and numerous print and digital media around the world.
My academic writing has appeared in A Global History of Literature and the Environment (Cambridge University Press), The Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Social Identities, Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction and Children’s Literature Review. In 2021, IB Tauris will be publishing my academic monograph A Cultural History of Manila: Literature, Empire and Orientalism, a critique of Western literary representations of Manila's urban topography and social/ethnic communities; and the relationship between these constructions and the colonial and post-colonial histories of Europe, the United States, the Philippines and wider Asia.
I have co-edited a collection of political journalism and five anthologies of travel stories. The first, No Such Thing as a Free Ride? (Cassell Illustrated), was serialised in The Times and named The Observer’s Travel Book of the Month. I am one of the founding editors of Star & Crescent, a hyperlocal community news, culture and commentary website focusing on the Portsmouth area. Star & Crescent has published a great deal of writing and visual art by University staff, students and alumni. I was recently awarded an Innovation Accelerator grant from the faculty to produce Pompey Writes, an anthology of the best work that has appeared on the website since 2015.
My main areas of research interest are:
- Creative nonfiction
- Travel writing
- Literary journalism
- Feature journalism
- Postcolonial literature and history
- Asian Studies
- Historical materialism
- The New Wave of Science Fiction.
I have published journalism on a wide variety of foreign affairs from 'the architecture of power' in the Ivory Coast to expatriate life in Southeast Asia, Indian nationalism to sustainable development in Ghana.
My doctoral research into travel writing has led me into fields such as the generic strategies of the autobiographical travelogue, "Third World Blues" and the ethics of representation, and American Orientalism’s construction of Manila as a textual space.