Tag Archives: tom sykes

Traipsing with Travel Writers Workshop March 5th

14 Feb

P1030508

An eclectic backpack of well-travelled writers will discuss the different forms of writing they produce from those adventures – and how you can use your own experiences to create original pieces of work.

Thu, March 5, 2020, 5:00 PM – 7:15 PM GMT Add to Calendar

Eldon Building, Middle Street, Portsmouth PO1 2DJ

 

Schedule

5.00 – 5.45pm: An interview with two of our celebrated travel writers.

6pm – 7.15pm: Themed readings from the collected writers and discussions about the various techniques used.

7.30pm – 9.00pm: Hands on workshop. Please book on the separate listing

Our speakers

Ben Aitken is the author of A Chip Shop in Poznan: My Unlikely Year in Poland, recounting a year spent working, travelling and integrating. Paul Ross called it ‘the funniest book of the year.’ Ben also wrote Dear Bill Bryson: Footnotes from a Small Island, featuring in The Guardian, The Times and on BBC Radio.

Amanda Garrie is in the final stages of a PhD in creative writing, where she’s writing a novel, at The University of Portsmouth. She was Portsmouth City Library and Archives Service Poet in Residence for 2019 and is a founder member of T’Articulation spoken word troupe. Much of her poetry and prose-fiction reflects the cultural curiosities discovered on her travels in Spain, Eastern Europe and India.

Mike Manson’s new novel, Down in Demerara, concerns an Englishman who is plucked from his humdrum job and dispatched to the forbidden rainforest of Guyana on a mysterious assignment. Fay Weldon calls the book ‘a fast-moving and wonderfully funny (I laughed aloud a lot) vigorous and intelligent tale of an innocent abroad.’

Richard Peirce, a co-founder of T’Articulation, is well-known on the local spoken-word circuit. His poetry, often connecting emotionally with the people, landscapes and situations, of his travels in the Philippines, Russia and Africa, has been published in a number of anthologies.

Tom Sykes is the author of The Realm of the Punisher: Travels in Duterte’s Philippines which garnered positive reviews in the Times Literary Supplement and the London Magazine. Tom is also the author of Ivory Coast: The Bradt Guide and his travel journalism has appeared in The Telegraph, Private Eye, New Statesman, New African, The Scotsman and many other titles.

Tickets are free but you will have to book them in advance here.

A three part experience in collaboration with Star & Crescent, T’Articulation and the University of Portsmouth.

Ivory Coast 2nd edition out in July

29 Jan

I’ve just submitted my final changes to the 2nd edition of Ivory Coast: The Bradt Guide (out 3rd July). It includes new material on the plantation region, digital culture and recent politics plus previously unpublished photos by Alexander Sebley.

Image result for Ivory Coast Tom Sykes"

Mention of Realm in ABS-CBN News

16 Jan

cover design

My latest book The Realm of the Punisher was cited in this intriguing article on the Philippine news site ABS-CBN on the connections between the Marcos and Duterte families by Miguel P Reyes.

Walden Bello on the Rise of the Global Far Right

22 Sep

1200px-Walden_Bello_-_WSF2003

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

P1050897

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

P1050900

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
front-cover-1-478x381

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

IMG_0068-copylandscape-1355x900

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

P1000739

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.