Writer's Retreat and Workshop 2017

Welcome to the First Annual Gamut Writer's Retreat and Workshop

Tuesday October 10 to Sunday October 15
Wicker Park Inn
Chicago, IL

Richard Thomas, Editor-in-Chief
Mercedes M. Yardley, Fiction Editor
Casey Frechette, Fiction Editor

HELLO EVERYONE! I'm so excited to announce the first Gamut Writer's Retreat and Workshop. This is going to be so much fun. I lived in the Bucktown / Wicker Park area for ten years and it's a wonderful neighborhood. At one time it was the third largest artistic community in the nation behind Greenwich Village and Haight-Ashbury. Take a look at all of the information here on the website, and don't hesitate to drop me a note with questions. Hope to see you in October!



(TO REGISTER send a note to Richard Thomas at richardgamut@gmail.com. First come, first served. Conference is $500. Room rates are separate, see below.)


Lindsay Hunter
Jac Jemc
Jan Bottiglieri
Joe Meno

SCHEDULE (subject to change)


Breakfast: Common room, 8:00 – 9:00 AM
Guest Lecture: Common room, 9:00 – 9:45 AM
Break 9:45 - 10:00 AM
Panel: Common room, 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM
Break: 10:45 to 11:00 AM
Gamut Talk: 11:00 AM to 11:45 AM


Lunch Break 11:45 AM – 2:00 PM 
Afternoon Workshops: Common Room OR Bucktown Apartment 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Free Time: 4:00 – 6:00 PM (Writing, exploring, bookstores, etc.)
Social Hour: Common room, 6:00 – 6:30 PM BYOB
Dinner: Nightly location TBA, all are welcome, within walking distance 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
Free Time: 8:00 – 10:00 PM Wed: Bookstore Tour; Thursday: Disintegration Walking Tour

(TO REGISTER send a note to Richard Thomas at richardgamut@gmail.com. First come, first served. Conference is $500. Room rates are separate, see below.)


Wednesday: Jac Jemc, The Horror of the Unreliable Narrator

We live in an age of distrust, of false connections, of alternative facts. Everyone is skeptical of everything, trusting only themselves and the ones they hold closest. What happens, then, when our own minds lie to us? When our loved ones deceive us? When an irreversible blurring happens between reality and fantasy, sincerity and pretense, authenticity and fakery? When even the things we’re most sure of appear as though they’ve fallen into the uncanny valley? The height of horror, repulsion, dysphoria. Herein lies the heart of modern literary horror. 

Thursday: Lindsay Hunter, Sex in Literature (workshop)

Sex in fiction can reveal, cause discomfort, titillate, disappoint, lead to (ahem) a narrative climax, and more. In this workshop, we'll use (ahem) constraints to complete a free writing exercise in which a sex scene is (ahem) inserted, and then we'll engage in a lively discussion about how cleverly depraved we all are. Just as sex can feel freeing, this workshop will give you the permission to use sex as a narrative tool, even and especially when you were least expecting to. 

Friday: Jan Bottiglieri, Connecting Cross-Genre Writing

Narrative is a strategy for deriving meaning—but various genres address the idea of "narrative" in different ways. In poetry, strategies of image, compression, diction, and tone come to the fore in ways that can inform and engage fiction writers. We'll talk about how poetry (and other creative forms such as film) can inspire writers to look at narrative in a fresh way, and the positive influence that reading cross-genre can have on our work. We'll also talk about genre itself as a type of metaphor—and explore cross-genre intersections and commonalities that can spark connection. 

Saturday: Joe Meno, Craft and Process Workshop in Speculative Writing   

This workshop explores the specific craft techniques and creative processes of writers working in fabulist, speculative, and experimental fiction. By examining the literary choices of writers in the speculative writing tradition—such as Franz Kafka, Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and contemporary writers like George Saunders, Karen Russell, and Kelly Link—beginning and advanced writers alike will be able to reflect upon and examine questions of character, conflict, and structure and generate speculative fiction of their own.

GUEST PANELS (with guest author and Gamut Staff)

Wednesday: Horror, in all of its many forms—from quiet to psychological, literary to gory
Thursday: Putting sex in our writing—how much, do we do it, why, sourcing our lives, etc.
Friday: How poetry and film have influenced our writing and dealing with lyrical prose
Saturday: Literary speculative fiction vs. genre speculative fiction


Richard Thomas is the award-winning author of seven books—Disintegration and Breaker (Random House Alibi), Transubstantiate, Staring Into the Abyss, Herniated Roots, Tribulations, and The Soul Standard (Dzanc Books). His over 100 stories in print include Cemetery Dance, PANK, storySouth, Gargoyle, Weird Fiction Review, Midwestern Gothic, Arcadia, Qualia Nous, Chiral Mad 2 & 3, and Shivers VI. He is also the editor of four anthologies: The New Black and Exigencies (Dark House Press), The Lineup: 20 Provocative Women Writers (Black Lawrence Press) and the Bram Stoker-nominated Burnt Tongues (Medallion Press) with Chuck Palahniuk. In his spare time he writes for LitReactor and is Editor-in-Chief at Dark House Press and Gamut Magazine. For more information contact Paula Munier at Talcott Notch.

Mercedes M. Yardley is a dark fantasist who wears red lipstick and poisonous flowers in her hair. She was a contributing editor for Shock Totem and currently works with Gamut, a groundbreaking new neo-noir magazine. Mercedes is the author of many diverse works, including Beautiful Sorrows, Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love, Pretty Little Dead Girls: A Tale of Murder and Whimsy, and the Bone Angel Trilogy. She recently won the Bram Stoker Award for her story Little Dead Red. Mercedes lives and works in Las Vegas.

Casey Frechette is a Fiction Editor at Gamut, and his writing has been published in Aqueous Magazine, Mosaic, and Coloredchalk. He lives in Washburn, WI.

Lindsay Hunter is the author of the novel Ugly Girls and the story collections Don’t Kiss Me and Daddy’s. Her next novel, Eat Only When You’re Hungry, will be released in August of 2017. She lives in Chicago with her husband, sons, and dogs.

Jac Jemc is the author of The Grip of It, forthcoming from FSG Originals in 2017. Her first novel, My Only Wife (Dzanc Books) was a finalist for the 2013 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction and winner of the Paula Anderson Book Award, and her collection of stories, A Different Bed Every Time (Dzanc Books) was named one of Amazon's best story collections of 2014. She edits nonfiction for Hobart. You can find her rejections at jacjemc.com.

Jan Bottiglieri llives and writes in suburban Chicago. She is a professional editor, as well as managing editor for the poetry annual RHINO, and holds an MFA in Poetry from Pacific University. Jan’s work has appeared or is forthcoming in more than 40 journals and anthologies including december, Rattle, DIAGRAM, Willow Springs and New Poetry from the Midwest, and she has led poetry workshops in the Chicago area. She is the author of the chapbook Where Gravity Pools the Sugar and the full-length poetry collection Alloy (Mayapple Press, 2015.) She’s currently working on her second full-length poetry manuscript, which centers on the movie Blade Runner. Visit janbottiglieri.com.

Joe Meno iis a fiction writer and playwright who lives in Chicago. A winner of the Nelson Algren Literary Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Great Lakes Book Award, and a finalist for the Story Prize, he is the author of six novels: Office Girl, The Great Perhaps, The Boy Detective Fails, Hairstyles of the Damned, How the Hula Girl Sings, and Tender as Hellfire. His short story collections are Bluebirds Used to Croon in the Choir and Demons in the Spring. His short fiction has been published in the likes of McSweeney’s, One Story, Swink, LIT, TriQuarterly, Other Voices, Gulf Coast, and broadcast on NPR. He was a contributing editor to Punk Planet, the seminal underground arts and politics magazine. His non-fiction has appeared in The New York Times and Chicago Magazine.


Wicker Park Inn B&B
1329 North Wicker Park Avenue 
Chicago, Illinois, IL 60622 
+1 773 486 2743


Amenities: Access to our full continental breakfast, including fresh fruit, pastries and savory croissant sandwiches, cereal, bagels, OJ and more. All rooms include complementary WiFi, satellite TV, blow dryers, shampoo and conditioner, free parking, central air and heat, and Wicker Park Fitness pass (upon request). Other features vary depending on the exact room.

Rooms: (All rooms must be booked through Gamut. To view rooms, head to the WPI website. Conference is $500 in addition to room rates. Maximum attendance is 14 guests.)

  • Blue Line BOOKED 

  • Cape Cod $960 + $167 tax (up to 2) queen + $500 = $1,627 shared $1,063 each

  • Bucktown Apartment BOOKED STAFF 

  • Chicago BOOKED

  • Garden Apartment BOOKED  

  • Tuscan BOOKED

  • Wicker Park Room BOOKED 

Special Events: (subject to change)

Disintegration (by Richard Thomas) Walking Tour: We will take a 1-2 mile walk around Bucktown / Wicker Park visiting various bars, restaurants, buildings, houses, and apartments where Disintegration was set. Free eBook included.

Bookstore Tour: 
Myopic 1564 N. Milwaukee 9AM-11PM http://www.myopicbookstore.com/ 
Quimby’s 1854 W. North 12PM-9PM (10PM F/S) http://www.quimbys.com/ 
Volumes 1474 N. Milwaukee 9:30AM-10PM http://www.volumesbooks.com/  

Dinners: (subject to change)

Piece 1927 W. North (Wednesday) http://www.piecechicago.com/ 
Takito Kitchen 2013 W. Division (Thursday) http://www.miraisushi.com/ 
Jane’s 1653 W. Cortland (Friday) http://www.janesrestaurant.com/ 
Trench (Saturday) 2039 W. North http://trenchbar.com/ 

(TO REGISTER send a note to Richard Thomas at richardgamut@gmail.com. First come, first served. Conference is $500. Room rates are separate, see above.)