School of Media and Performing Arts


Photo of Tom Sykes

Tom Sykes

  • Qualifications: PhD (due to be awarded 2016), MA (Res), BA (Hons)
  • Role Title: Senior Lecturer (Media and Creative Writing)
  • Address: Eldon Building, Winston Churchill Avenue, Portsmouth PO1 2DJ
  • Telephone: 023 9284 5505
  • Email:
  • Department: School of Media and Performing Arts
  • Faculty: Creative and Cultural Industries


I am a widely published writer, editor and journalist with interests in travel writing, creative nonfiction, international relations, radical politics, postcolonial literature, historiography, psychogeography and community journalism. 

My writing has appeared in Private EyeNew Statesman, The Scotsman, The Telegraph, New Internationalist, New African, Red Pepper, Travel Africa, South East Asia Globe and numerous print and digital media around the world. I spent three months last year reporting on Ivory Coast for some of the press mentioned above and researching The Bradt Travel Guide to Ivory Coast which is published in the UK in July and the USA in September.

I have co-edited a collection of political journalism and five anthologies of travel stories. The first, No Such Thing as a Free Ride?(Cassell Illustrated), was serialised in The Times and named The Observer’s Travel Book of the Month. I recently signed on as an editor of narrative nonfiction books at Summersdale, a Chichester-based publisher whose roster includes Simon Brett, Gerald Durrell, Bernard Levin, John Harris and Sir Francis Chichester.

I am also one of the editors of Star & Crescent, a hyperlocal community news, culture and commentary website focusing on the Portsmouth area. Star & Crescent has published a great deal of writing and visual art by University staff, students and alumni.

I'm also currently working on Blood is Thicker in Manila, an autobiographical travelogue with themes of memory, social justice and cultural exchange.

Teaching Responsibilities

I am unit coordinator for Professional Writing and The Magazine, for which I teach InDesign, the industry standard design software. I also teach on units across Creative and Media Writing including Travel Writing, Media Writing for the Press and Tips, Tricks and Techniques. On the Urban Sociology unit last year, I delivered lectures about Manila as a "developing world megacity" and on psychogeographical writing about London. 


My main areas of research interest are:

  • Creative nonfiction
  • Travel writing
  • Literary journalism
  • Feature journalism
  • Postcolonial literature and history
  • Psychogeography
  • Urbanism
  • Philippine literature and history
  • The new wave of science fiction literature

I am a regular contributor to Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction, the academic journal of the Science Fiction Foundation, and am currently preparing a chapter on ecological science fiction for A Global History of Literature and the Environment (Cambridge University Press).

My PhD-in-progress comprises an autobiographical travelogue entitled Blood is Thicker in Manila which, in keeping with the conventions of the genre, ‘freely mixes narrative and discursive writing’ (Raban, 2004) and draws upon both empirical data and theoretical concepts to arrive at an understanding of contemporary Manila. Therefore while Blood is Thicker… can be situated as a creative prose narrative it is, at the same time, a form of research practice. The critical aspect of my PhD that explores the formal strategies of the autobiographical travelogue, 'Third World Blues' and the ethics of representation, the challenges of converting real-life experiences into prose narratives and Anglo-American textual constructions of Manila 1851-the present day.


Research profile

Explore my research profile, publications and activities on the Portsmouth Research Portal

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