Erika Thorkelson is a journalist and writer of fiction and creative non-fiction living in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her work has appeared in Maisonneuve, Room Magazine, The Walrus, Hazlitt, The New Quarterly, Salon, The Huffington Post, This Magazine, Ricepaper Magazine and Quill & Quire. She has been a regular contributor of arts and culture writing to the Vancouver Sun and Edmonton Journal with a focus on theatre criticism.
“Erika Thorkelson has been a bright spot. She’s politically astute, offers sharp analysis of text and acting, and makes short but honest forays into scenographic elements,” wrote Alexis Lazaridis Ferguson in Canadian Theatre Review (Fall, 2016).
She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and is a host of The Storytelling Show on Vancouver Co-op Radio. She’s also a sessional instructor and graduate writing consultant at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.
From 2007 to 2009, she taught English in Miyagi Prefecture, Japan. In 2013, she received an Access Copyright Foundation Grant to travel to Japan to continue work on a book that explores events around the 2011 tsunami.
Her essay “Liquefaction,” which explores her first trip to Japan after the tsunami, won runner up in the Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest and was published in The New Quarterly in 2012. “’Liquefaction’ surprised me,” wrote judge and editor Susan Scott. “It does not sensationalize. It does not lull or coddle. It does not romanticize youth—educated and alert, but oh so green when it comes to fielding chaos—as impervious to danger. What the essay offers is a glimpse of the aftermath, those moments when people learn to stare down grief, sweep their own fears aside, and act on behalf of others. ‘Liquefaction,’ I thought, might just be required mother-daughter reading.”