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Elizabeth Baines - Author

About the Author

Elizabeth Baines was born in South Wales and lives in Manchester. She has been a teacher and is an occasional actor as well as the prize-winning author of plays for radio and stage, and of two novels, The Birth Machine and Body Cuts. Her award-winning short stories have been published widely in magazines and anthologies. Her first story collection, Balancing on the Edge of the World, was published by Salt in 2007. A novel, Too Many Magpies, will come from Salt in November 2009.

Books by Elizabeth Baines

Used to Be

Used to Be

Author: Elizabeth Baines Format: Paperback Release Date: 15/08/2015

Long-listed for the 2016 Edge Hill Short Story Prize What if, in a parallel universe, you made a different choice of lover? What if you've spent your whole life with entirely the wrong idea about your own sister? What do you do if you're trapped in a phone box by a woman who might be a victim, but could have accomplices nearby? What if we're wrong that ghosts come from the past, they come from somewhere else? What if we're only dreaming the life we think we're living? And can your life be changed by a message written by starlings on the sky? In Used to Be, a woman is driven at breakneck speed down a motorway, her life flashing before her, and comes to see that there's never just one story of a life. An eighteenth-century gentleman's certainty is challenged by a strange phenomenon, and a fatality on the line throws into disarray the lives of the passengers of an express train. Black holes and flooding can make us feel that the universe is running away with us and steal our certainty: can we ever say who we are really are? How reliable can memory ever be, and can looking for a ruined castle unlock the secrets of one person's past? Is there ever one real story? In the world of these short fictions, things are rarely what they're first assumed to be. There's always another story lurking somewhere...

The Birth Machine

The Birth Machine

Author: Elizabeth Baines Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/11/2010

Tucked up on the ward and secure in the latest technology, Zelda is about to give birth to her baby. But things don't go to plan, and as her labour progresses and the drugs take over, Zelda enters a surreal world. Here, past and present become confused and blend with fairytale and myth. Old secrets surface and finally give birth to disturbing revelations in the present. Originally published in the eighties, The Birth Machine was seized on by readers as giving voice to a female experience absent from fiction until then and quickly became a classic text. Out of print for some years, The Birth Machine is now reissued in a revised version. It is still relevant today to modern Obstetrics and Medicine, however it is more than that: it is also a gripping story of buried secrets and a long-ago murder, and of present-day betrayals. Above all, it is a powerful novel about the ways we can wield control through logic and language, and about the battle over who owns the right to knowledge and to tell the stories of who we are. The book was dramatised for Radio 4 and starred Barbara Marten as Zelda.

Too Many Magpies

Too Many Magpies

Author: Elizabeth Baines Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/10/2009

Can we believe in magic and spells? Can we put our faith in science? A young mother married to a scientist fears for her children's safety as the natural world around her becomes ever more uncertain. Until, that is, she meets a charismatic stranger who seems to offer a different kind of power... But is he a saviour or a frightening danger? And, as her life is overturned, what is happening to her children whom she vowed to keep safe? Why is her son Danny now acting so strangely? In this haunting, urgent and timely novel, Elizabeth Baines brings her customary searing insight to the problems of sorting our rational from our irrational fears and of bringing children into a newly precarious world. In prose that spins its own spell she exposes our hidden desires and the scientific and magical modes of thinking which have got us to where we are now.

Balancing on the Edge of the World

Balancing on the Edge of the World

Author: Elizabeth Baines Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/10/2007

These are stories about power: children without it and adults vying to get or keep it. A small boy struggles with his parents' divorce, a doctor fails to understand the limits of his medical power, a wronged wife finds a uniquely powerful way to wreak revenge. Sometimes satirical, sometimes innovative and lyrical, the stories home in on those moments when power can spill into powerlessness: the split-second when a self-satisfied teenager is held at knifepoint by muggers, the trip to the woods with the `poor kids' which teaches a small girl she's no better than them. They chart the opposite moments when people wrest back power: a daughter rebels against her violent father, a struggling writer decides to expose a con man arts worker, a little girl who wishes her lost father would come back finds she has magic powers. But it's a slippery thing, power, and these vivid, wry stories spring surprises: for nothing, in the end, is ever quite what it seems.

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