Tag Archives: tom sykes

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.

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.

Interview in The Eldon Review

4 Feb

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My interview with Elizabeth Palmer for The Eldon Review, the University of Portsmouth’s creative writing blog is now live. It’s called ‘Dangerous Segues’ and starts a little bit like this:

Elizabeth Palmer talks to Dr Tom Sykes, Deputy Course Leader for undergraduate creative writing degrees at the University of Portsmouth, about history, reportage, dangerous destinations and how we might define creative writing.

Elizabeth Palmer: Why did you decide to become a creative writing lecturer?

Tom Sykes: About ten years ago when I was working as a freelance writer, I thought I might have some useful ideas that I could pass on to others. I’d always done a lot of thinking about my own creative processes and ‘the craft’ in general. I started a PhD at Goldsmiths, University of London with the expectation that I probably wouldn’t get any teaching work until I’d completed the course. But about a year into the PhD, the University of Portsmouth hired me, I think on the strength of my publication record. At that time I was living in Bristol, although I’d grown up in the Pompey area so it seemed fate was drawing me back to this part of the world.

EP: Why did you choose creative writing in particular and not English literature?

TS: My first degree was in English at the University of East Anglia. At that time, UEA was one of the few UK universities that had a creative writing programme, but now you’ll find them everywhere. As part of my studies I was able to take units in journalism and prose fiction writing, which I enjoyed and did pretty well in. Ten years later, when I was applying for PhDs, I was in two minds because I had ideas for dissertations in both creative writing and English. As it happened, I was able to sort of combine the two disciplines at Goldsmiths.

Read the rest of the piece here. 

New op-ed on Duterte in The Conversation

10 Jan

I have an op-ed entitled ‘Duterte: Philippines’ brutal president must be condemned, but the West is guilty of double standards’ in The Conversation. The comments section has become a bit heated, as comments sections tend to. (Illustration on this post by the highly talented Louis Netter).

Not since the grim Marcos era have Western commentators been so interested in the Philippines. Their focus is the country’s brutal and boorish president, Rodrigo Duterte, whose gruesome anti-drug campaign – death toll: 20,000+ so far – should be condemned by any rational, humane person.

But some of these Western critics ignore or understate the role of Western policy in helping to create the conditions that birthed “Dutertismo”. They have also simplified Duterte’s erratic policy gestures and not held the Western powers to the same moral standards they expect of his regime.

To read more click here.

DarkFest Presents: The Place of the Outsider

30 Oct

Thursday, 8 November 2018 from 19:00-21:00

Room 0.20, Eldon Building, Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth, Hampshire PO1 2UP

A panel of poets, critics, life writers and fictionists explore the relationship between individual outsiders, mavericks and misfits and their geographical surroundings or places of origin.

Covering a variety of cultures, topographies, historical periods and literary approaches, these writers explore how the beliefs and behaviours of outsider figures – from Edward King to women suspected of witchcraft to embattled Manila slum-dwellers – are shaped by the times and places they emerge from. The panellists also discuss the role that folklore and mythology can play in representations of Self and place, and the creative decisions required to present the outsider and his/her connections to the world.

Panellists:

Poet and novelist Amanda Garrie on rural England, folklore and schizophrenia

Novelist and short story writer Dr Alison Habens on Portsmouth’s literary outsiders.

Poet and travel writer Richard Peirce on the southern Philippines, Turkey and his family connections to Austria.

Cultural critic Dr Sally Shaw on Edward King and wartime Portsmouth.

Will Sutton on Victorian coppers, fallen women and criminals.

Journalist, author and critic Dr Tom Sykes on marginalised groups and fringe beliefs in the urban megacity of Manila.

The panel will be moderated by poet and journalist Emily Priest of Star & Crescent and other outfits.

Photo by Alexander Sebley

 

Pompey Writes Anthology Out Now

6 Oct

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Pompey Writes features the very best content from Star & Crescent, Portsmouth’s only independent, non-commercial news, culture and commentary website, plus brand new material never before published. Since 2015, S&C has earned accolades for its investigations into local culture, media, ecology, housing, healthcare, education and gender issues. It has also been a platform for the most talented Portsmouth-based poets, fiction writers, memoirists, satirists and visual artists.

Amongst the book more than sixty contributors are Ted Hughes Prize-winning poest Maggie Sawkins; William Sutton, author of the Campbell Lawless novels; Christine Lord, prolific journalist and activist; Sarah Cheverton (Huffington Post, Women’s Views on News, Red Pepper); Tom Sykes (New Statesman, Private Eye, Bradt Travel Guides); and Matt Wingett, publisher, local historian and author of The Snow Witch. Poetry, short fiction, investigative journalism, travel writing, satire, graphic design, photography… it’s all here in this extensive, ground-breaking anthology.

Buy the book here. It’s just £9.95!

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.

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.