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Renee Gladman was born in Atlanta in 1971. She received a B.A. in philosophy from Vassar College, and a Master’s in poetics from New College of California. She is the author of seven works of prose and one collection of poetry. A new novel, Morelia, and a collection of essay-fictions, Calamities, are forthcoming in 2015. Since 2005, she has operated Leon Works, an independent press for experimental prose and other thought-projects based in the sentence, making occasional forays into poetry. A 2014-15 fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, she lives in Providence, RI, with the poet-ceramicist Danielle Vogel.

pages: 136

format: Paperback

isbn: 978-0-9844693-0-7

publication date: November 2010

Event Factory

Renee Gladman

Event Factory is a profound study of the architecture of being, knowledge, memory, and desire.” John Madera, Review of Contemporary Fiction

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A “linguist-traveler” arrives by plane to Ravicka, a city of yellow air in which an undefined crisis is causing the inhabitants to flee. Although fluent in the native language, she quickly finds herself on the outside of every experience. Things happen to her, events transpire, but it is as if the city itself, the performance of life there, eludes her. Setting out to uncover the source of the city’s erosion, she is beset by this other crisis—an ontological crisis—as she struggles to retain a sense of what is happening.

Event Factory is the first in a series of novels (also available are the second, The Ravickians; the third, Ana Patova Crosses a Bridge; and the fourth, Houses of Ravicka) that Renee Gladman is writing about the invented city-state of Ravicka, a foreign “other” place fraught with the crises of American urban experience, not least the fundamental problem of how to move through the world at all.


Read reviews at Bookslut, Tarpaulin Sky, and The Collagist. Read an excerpt of Event Factory in The Brooklyn Rail.


“Renee Gladman has always struck me as being a dreamer—she writes that way and the dreaming seems to construct the architecture of the world unfolding before our reading eyes. In Event Factory the details of her dream gleam specifically yet they bob on the surface of a deeper wider abyss we all might be becoming engulfed in. It has the strange glamour of Kafka’s Amerika, this book, but the narrator, lusty and persuasive, is growing up.” Eileen Myles 

“[The Ravicka] books are absurd and surreal, and are stabilized by an eerie interior logic: Think The Phantom Tollbooth for adults.” the atlantic

“In this wondrously wandering book, an unnamed woman travels to the mysterious city of Ravicka, a city which is slowly and inconceivably disappearing beneath the fingertips of its inhabitants. A yellow fog coats everything and begins to interrupt and disrupt meaning itself. Though the protagonist is fluent in the native tongue, language too is slipping away. She wanders the city in search of what she used to know—words, landmarks, old friends—capable only of finding a deeper and deeper sense of being lost.” vela

“In Renee Gladman’s extraordinary Event Factory, the world in all its languaged variousness adumbrates a ‘yellow-becoming’ map for our deepest internal spelunkings, a map we don’t dare do without as we negotiate, along with our intrepid narrator, the world of Ravicka, the sprawling city, where, we might say, to borrow from Gladman, ‘nothing happens, nothing happens, then everything is ‘said’ to happen . . .’ and where we might also say, to borrow from Beckett, the magnifying and minifying mirrors have been shattered and the body has, yes, ‘vanished in the havoc of its images.’ ” Laird Hunt 

“There are passages in Event Factory which are furiously beautiful. The evening air is ‘tender’; the light is ‘yellow’; the morning is a ‘greener yellow at the start of the day but every moment growing golden.’ Everything the narrator tries to do ends in failure, but experience somehow happens anyway. And while it’s probably important for the critic to preserve the oddness of Gladman’s project, it must be said that Event Factory, for all its challenging images and language, is cheeky and hilarious. It makes great, unpredictable company.” adam novy, dossier

“The press’s premier titles, Renee Gladman’s Event Factory, the first book in a trilogy, and Barbara Comyns’s Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead, a reissue originally published in 1954, build perspectives and worlds that are so totally funny and complex that to get a sense of the Dorothy aesthetic, simply let these books enrapture you.” J’Lyn Chapman 


cover art:

contemplando el ritmo del dia (contemplating the rhythm of the day) by Gisela Insuaste (gouache and ink on wood, 36 in x 36 in, 2005)

Gisela Insuaste received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and her BA in Anthropology & Studio Art from Dartmouth. She has participated in exhibitions and projects in venues nationwide, including Aljira, A Center for Contemporary Art, Newark, NJ; Queens Museum of Art, Queens, NY; Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago, IL; Krannert Art Museum-UIUC, Champaign, IL; and Bucket Rider Gallery and Thomas McCormick Gallery, Chicago, IL. She is the recipient of grants and awards, including a Richard Driehaus/Artadia Emerging Artist Award, Illinois Arts Council Artist Grants, and MacDowell Colony Artist Fellowships, and was recently nominated for a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant for Sculptors and Painters. Recent exhibitions include Satellite Gallery at the University of Texas, San Antonio, TX; Cuchifritos Gallery; and ABC No Rio, New York, NY. She lives in Brooklyn, NY. For more information, please visit her website.