Tom Sykes was born in Portsmouth in 1979, and educated at the University of East Anglia and Goldsmiths College. He has travelled extensively in Europe, Africa and Asia and worked as a journalist and teacher in India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Ivory Coast and Ghana.
Tom is the author of The Realm of the Punisher (2018), the first travelogue by a Westerner to engage with the Duterte-era Philippines and Ivory Coast: The Bradt Guide (2016), the first full-length English-language guide to Ivory Coast. With Sarah Cheverton, he co-edited Pompey Writes: The Best of Star & Crescent So Far (2018) and since 2005, he has co-edited and contributed to three anthologies of hitchhiking stories. The first, No Such Thing as a Free Ride? was serialized in The Times and named The Observer’s Travel Book of the Month.
His essays and journalism have appeared in The Daily Telegraph, Private Eye, New Statesman, The Journal of Postcolonial Writing, The Scotsman, New Internationalist, New African, Social Identities, Monocle, Red Pepper, The London Magazine, Travel Africa, The Journalist, Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction, The Philippines Free Press as well as in international anthologies such as Small Voices, Big Confessions (2006) and Urban Odysseys: KL Stories (2009). Tom has been a staff writer for the US educational publisher World Trade Press.
Since 2015, Tom has been the co-editor of Star & Crescent, a Portsmouth-based community journalism and hyperlocal news website which has received funding from NESTA and the Centre for Investigative Journalism.
Tom is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Portsmouth and earned a PhD in Creative Writing from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2018. He has also lectured at the Universities of Liverpool, Philippines and Malaysia, and was a Visiting Lecturer at the Eagle Vision Institute, Ghana in 2013.
He is currently working on A Cultural History of Manila, a study of Western Orientalist literature on the Philippines which will be published by I.B. Tauris in 2019.