Welcome to the personal website of writer, editor and University of Portsmouth senior lecturer Dr Tom Sykes. From satire to academic essays, reportage to travel narrative, here’s a stash of stuff I’ve published in media including Private Eye, New Statesman, Interventions, The Journal of Postcolonial Writing, New Internationalist, Declassified UK, New African and The Philippine Free Press

Buy my latest book, Imagining Manila: Literature, Empire and Orientalism, here.

‘Tom Sykes demonstrates how Manila functions as the metonym for the Philippine meta-archipelago, often with breath-taking reductiveness and strikingly telling material effects. Imagining Manila has much to teach us on the matter of representations, and why representations matter.” – Oscar V. Campomanes, Ateneo de Manila University

Imagining Manila has the merit of shedding light on a myriad of texts from the Anglosphere, some of them relatively unknown … The variety of sources and references quoted is such that it makes very engaging reading. Intellectually stimulating, this will be of utmost interest for scholars researching travel literature in South East Asia and postcolonial studies.” – South East Asia Research journal

Imagining Manila is a valuable resource for scholars interested in representations of Manila and perceptions about Filipinos in over a century. The sheer range and number of works Sykes discusses are impressive. Advanced students and scholars will also benefit from the concepts Sykes draws upon from postcolonial studies scholars.” – Philippine Studies journal

“Sykes provides a powerful antidote to the orientalist worlding of Manila in Anglo-American literature. Rigorous, engaged and insightful, his postcolonial critique of ‘Manilaism’ exposes the poverty and hypocrisy of this discursive paradigm and presents cogent analyses of anti-Manilaist writing, thereby offering a radically different imagining of Manila.” – Roderick G Galam, Oxford Brookes University, UK


Praise for my previous book, The Realm of the Punisher:

‘Tom Sykes’s account of his rambling road trip through the country, The Realm of the Punisher, offers a serious and at times tragic corrective. He 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.’

Times Literary Supplement (TLS)

‘At last! A Western journalist/academic writing about the Philippines who has done proper homework and legwork, and who clearly has an affection for both the country and its people.’

James Hamilton-Paterson, author of Ghosts of Manila and America’s Boy.

‘Tom Sykes’ book is an excellent contribution when it comes to Duterte. It sheds valuable light on how such a popular leader could emerge from the thicket of Philippine politics and why he literally continues to get away with murder.’

Walden Bello, Professor of Sociology and Public Administration at the University of the Philippines and author of The Food Wars.

‘Tom has surely earned his stripes. He’s written an almost encylopaedic collection of facts and anecdotes about the Philippines which anyone can dip into, from historical times to the wartime era, from heroes to dictators, up until today, the period of Duterte. It is the first book, as far as I know, that details the current Philippines, warts and all, centering on Duterte’s impact on Filipinos.’

Gene Alcantara, Filipino Chronicles.

‘The Realm of the Punisher is an accessible and meticulously researched travelogue based on lucid, first-hand reporting, interviews with a profusion of notable people and close readings of textual sources dating back centuries.’

The London Magazine

Tom Sykes’s artful descriptive style evokes characters and locations … This book deals with historical, social and political issues that most “travelogues” don’t.’

Socialist Review

27 thoughts on “Home

    • Thanks Richard. Never put nearly enough effort into this kind of thing before! I’ll be moving back to Portsmouth in April so maybe we can beer then – make up for having missed you in Manila. Tom.

  1. That’s my bedtime reading sorted out for a while! Well done. Nice to see we have similar taste in beards too! Hopefully see you when I’m down to see your Dad again.

  2. Big big congratulations cuz! The website looks great – you’ve achieved so much and I am most proud. I will be sure to delve further into your works and have a proper read! Much love xx

  3. Benny here. Good job, Mr. Sykes. Hope you do get back to the Philippines; you may have some unfinished business with our Chicken Inasal 🙂

  4. Hello you have a good weblog over here! Thanks for sharing this interesting stuff for us! If you keep up this great work I’ll visit your weblog again. Thanks!

  5. Everything is very open with a precise clarification of the
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  6. Hi Tom, just wanted to say great to meet you at the #GEWPorts event last night. Was hoping to chat to you more but time ran out. Have been having a good nose around your blog – it’s fab! I also thought your talk was incredibly insightful and interesting for budding writers, and I was really privileged to be speaking along side you. Especially as I still consider myself a budding writer tbh! Couldn’t find you on twitter but if you are on there pls look me up and I’ll follow you back. Helen 🙂

    • Hi Bina, thanks for your interest. I’m not actually writing a guidebook to the country, I’m working on a sort of autobiographical travelogue that is mostly set in Manila. It’s forming most of a PhD that I sincerely hope I’ll complete next year. What are you working on at the moment and where are you based?

  7. I don’t know if it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else experiencing issues with your site.
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  14. Hi. I wonder if you and sir Percy Sykes , and of course, Ella Sykes , his sister and the author of Through Persia on a Side-Saddle, are of the family , or not. Cheers. Majid

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