Tag Archives: journalism

Realm of the Punisher Review in The London Magazine

2 Apr

Pleased that Georgina Monk’s review of The Realm of the Punisher in The London Magazine appreciates my aim to infuse a travel narrative with reflections on nationalism, populism, imperialism, Orientalism and some other ‘isms’ as they relate to the Philippines. Read it by clicking on these words here.

Cover picture by Louis Netter.

Pompey Writes Showcase event

13 Feb
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Star & Crescent – Portsmouth’s only independent news, commentary and creative writing website – and Portsmouth BookFest invite you to an evening of readings, discussions and networking opportunities focused on the vibrant and growing Portsmouth literary scene. Meet and listen to successful novelists, award-winning poets and journalists who have been published in the national and international press. Local independent publishers will have stalls at the event and there will be plenty of useful advice on offer about getting into professional writing and publishing.

Featuring:
Sarah Cheverton, Maggie Sawkins, Wendy Metcalfe, Carol Westron, Emily Priest, Matt Wingett, Tom Sykes, Rick Haines, David Gates, Christine Hammacott and more TBA.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019 from 19:30-21:30
Portsmouth Central Library, Guildhall Walk, PO1 2DX Portsmouth
Admission FREE but please book a ticket in advance here.

Witnessing the World event

11 Feb

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Star & Crescent and Bookfest 2019 present: Witnessing the World: Reportage, Academic Research, Art and Fiction Based on Real Events and Real Lives

The Menuhin Room, Portsmouth Central Library

Thursday, 28 February 2019 from 19:00-21:00

A panel of experienced writers and artists who have captured real-life people, places and events in their work share all the tricks of their trade, discussing style, structure, voice, investigative ethics and research methods. The evening will include a caricature-drawing demonstration and some writing activities. The panellists will cover a wide range of topics from American fan culture to folklore in rural Oxfordshire, Donald Trump to the drug war in the Philippines, the Northern Irish Troubles to contemporary Guyana.

Featuring:
Louis Netter, reportage cartoonist
Simone Gumtau, researcher into local personal narratives
Amanda Garrie, novelist and folklore researcher
Mike Manson, novelist and historian
Lincoln Geraghty, traveller-academic and fan culture theorist
Graham Spencer, Northern Ireland peace and conflict expert
Tom Sykes, foreign correspondent and travel author

Tickets are £5 and can be purchased in any Portsmouth City Council Library or online here.

My Interview with Gene Alcantara, UK-based Filipino Activist

5 Feb

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In the current online issue of Red Pepper, poet, journalist and community activist Gene Alcantara talks to me about his resistance to Marcos and Duterte, crazed internet trolls and the politics of the Filipino diaspora. Sharp and sleek photos by Alexander Sebley.

Read it here.

Bristol Festival of Literature Appearance 22nd Oct

12 Sep

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I’ll be discussing my new travelogue of the contemporary Philippines, Realm of the Punisher, at the Bristol Festival of Literature on 22nd October. My good friend Mike Manson will be present too, riffing on his new novel Down in Demerara. Click here for tickets and further details.

New Philippines Story in Private Eye

30 Jul

If you go down the newsagent today you’ll find my latest reporting on the Philippines in Private Eye (under the pseudonym ‘Dr Grim’). The story deals with Duterte’s new war on narcopoliticians and public protests against him, and includes an interview with an activist for indigenous people’s rights who has just been put on his death list. (Picture by Louis Netter).

The Realm of the Punisher Out November

22 Jun

‘At last! A Western journalist/academic writing about the Philippines who has done proper homework and legwork, and who clearly has affection for both the country and its people.’ James Hamilton-Paterson, author of Ghosts of Manila and America’s Boy

In June 2016, Rodrigo ‘The Punisher’ Duterte won the Philippine presidential election. Infamous for his bombastic temper and un-PC wisecracks, he is waging a brutal drug war that has killed an estimated 10-20,000 people so far.

Over the last nine years, British writer Tom Sykes has travelled extensively in the Philippines to understand the Duterte phenomenon, visiting the sites of extra-judicial killings and interviewing friends and enemies of the regime. Sykes witnesses an anti-government demonstration in the capital Manila and journeys to the provincial city of Davao, where Duterte began his crusade against crime using police and civilian death squads.

The Realm of the Punisher also features encounters with slum-dwellers resisting violent eviction, an elderly former sex slave to the Japanese in the Second World War and a public artist who must work while under attack from Maoist rebels.

The past is never far away from these present-day problems and Sykes’ travels to festivals, memorials and a tomb housing an embalmed corpse reveal how key figures in Philippine history – from José Rizal to Ferdinand Marcos – have influenced current affairs.

Funny, tragic, enlightening and uncompromising – and infused with the author’s strong sense of social justice – The Realm of the Punisher is the first major travel book by a Westerner to explore Duterte’s Philippines.

(Design and image by Louis Netter).

Pre-order here.

#ReclaimTheNews: Apply for Our Free Local Journalism Course

19 Feb

Star & Crescent has partnered up with the Centre for Investigative Journalism (CIJ) to offer 12 local residents a FREE place on a 10-week local journalism course worth £100s and based here in Portsmouth.

Are you ever disappointed by local news coverage? Do you feel like there’s more to a story than a few hundred words in the local paper? Have you ever wished there was something you could DO about it?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then we’ve got some great news for you and it’s called #ReclaimTheNews, a new training course coming to Portsmouth in April 2018.

What is the #ReclaimTheNews course?

This spring, the Star & Crescent team are joining forces with the Centre for Community Journalism to teach 12 Portsmouth residents the fundamental skills needed to deliver high quality, investigative local journalism that makes a real difference to our communities.

From April, the S&C team will be joined by national experts and journalists over 10 weeks to train participants in a range of areas relating to investigative and community journalism. Alongside their training each week, participants will be supported and mentored to write at least one story for publication on S&C from July 2018.

Participants will be invited to remain with S&C after their training as part of our new Community Reporting Team.

Find out more here.

Publishing Weekend @ Portsmouth Bookfest

30 Jan

Portsmouth Bookfest, Star & Crescent and the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries, University of Portsmouth present:

Publishing Weekend @ Portsmouth Bookfest

Saturday 17th February – Sunday 18th February 2018

10am – 4pm

White Swan Building, New Theatre Royal

£20 per day (includes tea/coffee and a light lunch) or two day Saturday and Sunday combined ticket offer £30

BUY TICKETS HERE 

This event will be useful to anyone looking to research and edit their writing, publish their work and build their author brand. Whether you are thinking of self-publishing or going down the traditional route, understanding the process is essential. Our range of experienced experts will be sharing their wealth of knowledge on all aspects of the publishing journey and there will be plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

Saturday: Working towards Publication: The focus on Saturday is working towards getting ready for publication with talks and practical workshops on researching, editing and pitching your ideas to publishers.

Sunday: Publication and being a published author: On Sunday we focus on the publishing process and how to build your author brand through book cover design, book reviews and the use of social media.

You can book for either day or attend both days at a discounted price! Your ticket price includes a light networking lunch and tea and coffee.

Programme:

Saturday:

10am: Introduction

10.15am: Editing tips and traps with Helen Garvey and Tom Sykes

Writing a book is easy, right? Perhaps, but how about producing something you can be confident is of top publishable quality? Join professional freelance editor Helen Garvey as she discusses the process of taking your first draft through to publication, sharing her tips and highlighting the traps she wishes she had known about when she started writing.

Tom Sykes will explore the processes behind line-editing nonfiction books, making large structural adjustments to narratives, and compiling anthologies of short stories and articles.

11.45am: Coffee break

12noon: Pitching your idea/work with Wendy Metcalfe and Tom Sykes

Wendy will talk about submitting fiction short stories and novels.  She will cover preparing your story, submission guidelines, and keeping your motivation up when the rejections roll in.

Wendy has been submitting short stories and novels for over twenty years.  She will share stories from her own struggle to scale the slush pile.

Tom will examine proposing non-fiction works and journalistic articles to a range of professional markets, drawing on real-life contracts, pitch letters and editorial suggestions.

1.30pm: Networking lunch

2.30pm: Do your research with Suzie Wilde

Rudyard Kipling writes …

“I KEEP six honest serving-men
 (They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
 And How and Where and Who.”

… which is a good mantra for researchers, too. But the first question is, what kind of researcher are you? Suzie will help you decide.

3.30pm: Bookshop and Q and A

Sunday:

10am: Introduction

10.15am: Thinking of self -publishing? With Chindi

CHINDI authors have self-published novels and non-fiction books in various formats over the last five years. They’ve made audio books, e-books and printed books that have sold to thousands of readers. They’ve also made a lot of mistakes along the way. Christopher Joyce will lead a discussion of how to publish your book, where to go and what not to do using experiences from the group of 22 authors. www.chindi-authors.co.uk

11.15am: Coffee break

11.30am: Judging a book by its cover – your book as a product with Christine Hammacott

In traditional publishing producing a book is all about creating a saleable product. Whether you are aiming to be traditionally published or are self-publishing the marketing and selling process starts with the cover. This workshop is designed to give an understanding of book cover design and formatting, and why getting to grips with genre is so important by publication stage. It will also cover positioning your book in the marketplace, and the all important considerations when producing your ‘product’.

12.45pm: How to build an author platform from scratch with Jo Mallory

Jo’s workshop will cover: Where to start 101; your Website; let’s talk platforms and your social media, with the opportunity for questions.

1.30pm: Networking lunch

2.30pm: Writing book reviews to establish yourself as a writer with Carol Westron

“Many of the exciting opportunities I’ve received in the past few years have stemmed from my first reviews for Mystery People. I’ve made some wonderful friends, raised my profile as a writer and honed my reading and writing skills. In this talk I will discuss the benefits of reviewing and how to write a review that shows you at your best”.

3pm: Organic marketing with social media with Jo Mallory

In this workshop Jo will cover: Knowing your audience and where to find them; mailing lists; growing your audience organically Vs paid advertising; a fun tips session; the writer trap; don’t be afraid to cull and don’t feed the trolls.

3.45pm: Conclusion, questions and feedback

‘Letter from Manila’ now in Private Eye magazine

22 Jul

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My story about the siege crisis in Marawi, the Philippines is in the current issue of Private Eye magazine, available only in the print edition.