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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 invative 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 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 thing, in the end, is ever quite what it seems.
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.
Runner-up for BBC National Short Story Award 1980. Long-listed for Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award 2008.