School of Media and Performing Arts


Photo of Tom Sykes

Tom Sykes

  • Qualifications: PhD, 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 author, editor and journalist with interests in travel writing, creative nonfiction, international relations, radical politics, postcolonial literature, historiography, psychogeography, historical materialism and community journalism. 

I am the author of Ivory Coast (Bradt Publications), a commercially successful travel guide that blends reportage and political analysis with practical advice, and Realm of the Punisher, a 'political travelogue' of the Philippines, which is due out with Signal Books in October. This latter title grew out of my PhD in Creative Writing at Goldsmiths. I am currently preparing Manilaism, a critique of Western literary representations of Manila's urban topography and social/ethnic communities; and the relationship between these constructions and the colonial and post-colonial histories of the Europe, the United States, the Philippines and wider Asia. 

In addition to my teaching, I remain an active journalist. My work 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 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 have also done structural editing work for Summersdale, a Chichester-based publisher whose roster includes Gerald Durrell, Bernard Levin, John Harris and Sir Francis Chichester.

I am one of the founding 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 was recently awarded an Innovation Accelerator grant from the faculty to produce Pompey Writes, an anthology of the best work that has appeared on the website since 2015.

I've written a chapter for edited collection A Global History of Literature and the Environment (Cambridge University Press) and my academic articles and book reviews have appeared in the journals Social Identities, Foundation: The International Review of Science Fiction and Children’s Literature Review.

Teaching Responsibilities

I am unit coordinator for Professional Writing and The Magazine. 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 in Humanities, I have 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
  • Reportage
  • Postcolonial literature and history
  • Psychogeography
  • Urbanism
  • Philippine literature and history
  • The new wave of science fiction literature

My PhD partly comprised an autobiographical travelogue entitled Searching for 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 Searching for Manila 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 explored 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 to the present day.


Research profile

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

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