Writing Tutor for Hire

FullSizeRenderDo you need help with a writing project? Working on article pitch? Are you working on a grant application? Shining up your resume to apply for a new position? Writing an artist statement or bio? Need another set of eyes before you send off an important email? I have a proposition for you.

For the past three years, I’ve been working with the Writing Centre at Emily Carr University of Art and Design to support students with writing projects that range from graduate theses to website content to resumes and cover letters (here’s a little info about the work I do there). I’ve also done similar work at the University of British Columbia and have offered support to many of my friends and colleagues over the years with great results.

This summer, I’m in a position to offer these skills more broadly to members of the community on a private basis. Beyond providing traditional editing services (although I can do that too), I can help you develop and organize your ideas, create a plan, and move from one draft to the next. I have experience with a range of genres, from personal narrative to business communication to high academic. I also have a great deal of experience working with English language learners.

No project is too small. Whatever phase of the writing process has you stuck, I can help you through it. I’m happy to negotiate reasonable hourly rates. If this sounds like a service you’d be interested in, please drop me an email at ethorkelson@gmail.com.

Maisonneuve Spring Issue


Private English schools in Canada are a billion dollar industry. In Vancouver alone, these schools employ more than 1000 teachers, staff and other support workers, but are we doing enough to protect students who come to Canada to learn? My cover story in the Spring 2017 issue of Maisonneuve explores what lead to the closure of one such school and what it meant for the teachers, the students and the industry as a whole. Photography by Naveen Naqvi.

“The Final Transmission,” by Erika Thorkelson

Thanks so much to Leah Mol for inviting me to be a part of this inspiring project again!

word and colour

james-gilleard_1The final transmission from Station Alpha came from General Watkins himself, who had gone to inspect the new device just two days before. Right up until the moment of the explosion, there had been hope that the device, a single man’s dream realized through unprecedented international cooperation, was the solution everyone had been hoping for.

There was no picture in the final transmission. Cloaked in static, Watkins’ voice was thick, moaning even. “The Earth’s heart is heavy.” He sighed. “So much heavier than we could even have imagined…” Then the whole facility evaporated.

Marcella Watkins, the General’s wife and special envoy to the United Nations, knew the voice well. It was the one he used when he wanted her to move closer, toward his side of the bed. It was the voice he used for quiet, reflective thoughts he could only express near sleep.

“Something is coming,” Marcella Watkins told…

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Storytelling Show – Growing Room

“I don’t make any bones about the fact that I’m actively looking for Indigenous writers and women writers on Joyland… . I’m willing to deal with criticism if it is lobbed at me about that.”

-Carleigh Baker

Festival Director Arielle Spence and writer Carleigh Baker discuss the Growing Room: A Feminist Literary Festival (March 8-12, 2017), Baker’s short story collection Bad Endings and the role of accountability in publishing.

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A thinking person’s guide to becoming an Instantory

Since announcing my intention to join the Conservative Party of Canada, just this past Friday, I’ve run into a number of points of confusion about what this means. I’d like to take a moment to clear these up.

  • This is a new idea

Left leaning Albertans have been taking out conservative party membership for decades, long before Amy Millan and Torquil Campbell suggested it on Twitter, because in a province with such a strong, enduring conservative leadership, joining the party was the only way to feel like you had any control over who ended up running your province. A friend’s mother called it being an “Instantory”—a portmanteau of Instant and Tory, which I love, and so have used in the title of this post. She did this twice during leadership races but ultimately gave up when people like Ralph Klein just kept getting voted in.

  • Joining the Conservative Party requires you to go to an actual party.

As much as I like the idea of acquiring a Sarah Palin chestnut wig to cover my blue hair and spending a few hours at Value Village tracking down the kind of matching skirt and blazer that would make an Ayn Rand heroine jealous, it’s not actually necessary. Like most things these days, voting for the leader of the Conservative Party of Canada is carried out remotely.

Someday in April, I’ll be getting a ballot, which I will fill out and mail back and the deed will be done. I won’t even have to prep a number of stories about hunting deer with my grandpa’s rifle to charm party members into submission before I willfully subvert their party’s democratic processes. Sadly. Continue reading

Storytelling Show – Hoda Hamouda

“A multiplicity of perspectives is what we need to understand ourselves and each other better.” – Designer Hoda Hamouda

World events over the past few weeks, and particularly this weekend, have reminded me of this Storytelling Show conversation I had in January 2016 with my brilliant Emily Carr U colleague, designer Hoda Hamouda. Here we discuss her work surrounding Tahrir Square during the 2011 revolution in Egypt and how citizen media can counter hegemonic narratives in times of resistance.

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Notes on Hesitation

I wrote this bit of flash fiction in response to an image by Juan Travieso.

word and colour

350dpi009The birds in my neighbourhood are having an existential crisis. They’re hesitating on their branches, resting for a moment longer than they should. Even when I scream and stomp my feet at the foot of the tree, they stand there, thinking about whether or not to fly away, wondering if it even matters.

              I learned the term “existential crisis” from my English teacher because we’re reading The Stranger by Albert Camus. I’m in this advanced class where everything is so deep. I love it. Anyway, the birds, right? I think I noticed it before I learned the word—is that possible? Can you notice something subtle like that and then learn the word for it, or is it kind of invisible until you can name it? I guess it doesn’t matter—the point is I’ve learned it and I can’t unlearn it.

              It’s weird because I was pretty sure flying…

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