Welcome to the personal website of writer, editor and University of Portsmouth senior lecturer Tom Sykes. From satire to short fiction, reportage to travel narrative, here’s a stash of stuff I’ve published in media all over the place including The Telegraph, Private Eye, New Statesman, The Scotsman, New Internationalist, Red Pepper, New African and The Philippine Free Press

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


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 Responses to “Home”

  1. Richard Peirce 09/03/2012 at 10:42 #

    A refreshing alternative to Facebook, Tom. I will be dropping by here again.

    • tomgsykes 09/03/2012 at 10:45 #

      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.

  2. Simon Sykes 09/03/2012 at 11:20 #

    Excellent website – excellent writing – good photo too Thomas…

  3. Helen Hart 09/03/2012 at 11:46 #

    Thanks, Tom! Looking good.

  4. Alex Sykes 09/03/2012 at 11:52 #

    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.

  5. Bryony Jennings 09/03/2012 at 12:05 #

    Looks great Tom. Looking forward to having you back in Portsmouth, I’m going to have a proper read through now. Great photo xxx

  6. levertonwrites 09/03/2012 at 14:45 #

    Tom, take a look at my blog: http://www.levertonwrites.wordpress.com
    It is like yours but a few years down the line ie. when it gets all messy and you can’t remember why you do it anymore…

  7. Kate Allberry 13/03/2012 at 22:14 #

    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

  8. ilabenny 23/04/2012 at 07:05 #

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

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  12. justanormalmummy (@wallymummy) 19/11/2013 at 19:26 #

    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 🙂

  13. mehreen10 25/09/2014 at 23:06 #


  14. bina 11/05/2015 at 17:47 #

    i heared you doing a travel book guide for Philippines when is this going to published

    • tomgsykes 12/05/2015 at 10:06 #

      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?

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    • tomgsykes 12/12/2015 at 17:18 #

      Thanks for the heads-up, I’ll try and sort that out.

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  23. Majid 29/03/2018 at 20:14 #

    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

    • tomgsykes 03/04/2018 at 09:34 #

      Sadly I’m not a relative of any of those people you mention, but they sound intriguing!

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