Tag Archives: tom sykes

Walden Bello on the Rise of the Global Far Right

22 Sep

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The world renowed sociologist, environmentalist and political activist Walden Bello will be discussing the global rise of the far right in the context of the climate emergency, globalization, imperialism, dependency and world capitalism. A veteran of movements protesting the Vietnam War, the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines and the US campaign against Chile’s Salvador Allende, Prof Bello has been described as “one of the most articulate and prolific voices on the international left” who “has devoted most of his life to fighting imperialism and corporate globalization.” His latest book is Paper Dragons: China and the Next Crash (Zed Books).

Prof Bello will be hosted by the Culture and Conflict research group at the University of Portsmouth and introduced by Dr Tom Sykes, Senior Lecturer at UoP and author of The Realm of the Punisher, a ‘political travelogue’ of the contemporary Philippines.

Admission free but please book a ticket through Eventbrite here.

Realm of the Punisher Now Available as Kindle Ebook

29 Jul

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Signal have released a Kindle ebook version of The Realm of the Punisher. Here is what some of the reviewers on Amazon have said about the book so far:

‘Sykes as writer is about total experience – how does the sum total of this place – the geography, the history, the urban rural divide, the economics, the social fabric, the individuals, the politics, the eventual President – how does it all come together?’

Paul Valentine

‘Sykes is an entertaining and illuminating writer. As well as serious analysis there are laugh out loud moments. I’d recommend The Realm of the Punisher to anyone who wants to understand what is going on in the world today.’

M. S. Manson

‘Read this not knowing a thing about the Philippines, and not planning to visit. I was expecting to last a few chapters, but it’s written in such a way that it’s engaging and relevant and very readable.’

Anonymous reviewer.

You can buy it here.

Good review of Realm of the Punisher in TLS

1 Jul

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Michael Vatikiotis has reviewed Realm of the Punisher positively in the current TLS (Times Literary Supplement). It’s always reassuring when you try to do something ambitious in writing and an informed reader ‘gets it’.

The article is here behind a paywall, here are some quotes:

‘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.’

‘Sykes cuts through these contradictions with a mixture of casual English aplomb and raw socialist idealism.’

‘Sykes stumbles on one of the more fascinating ironies of the modern Philippines: the appeal of rich strongmen using guns and goons to poor people living desperate and deprived lives. ‘

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!