Friday, 8 October 2010

The Birth Machine by Elizabeth Baines

Elizabeth Baines's controversial book, THE BIRTH MACHINE, has just been re-issued. Be sure to check out this title, as well as Elizabeth's fabulous short fiction in the anthology, BITCH LIT, published by Crocus Books and co-edited by Maya Chowdhry and yours truly!


In ELIZABETH BAINES’S acclaimed novel, THE BIRTH MACHINE, Zelda lies on a hospital bed about to undergo hi-tech childbirth. But things don’t go to plan, and as her labour goes wrong and the drugs take over, the past blends with the present and fairytale and myth, and long-buried secrets and present-day betrayals are exposed…

On its first publication The Birth Machine was seized on by readers as giving voice to a female experience absent from fiction until then. It was acclaimed as a significant event in women’s publishing, also receiving critical praise, and quickly became a classic text. It was dramatized by Elizabeth and broadcast as an acclaimed play for Radio 4. In spite of this, and in part due to the fact that the author was at the centre of a women’s movement controversy, The Birth Machine fell out of print. It is now reissued with the author’s original structure (changed by the Women’s Press for political feminist reasons) reinstated and including an Author’s Note discussing the implications of the changes.

Still very relevant today to modern Obstetrics and Medicine, The Birth Machine is however more than that: it is also a gripping story involving a long-ago murder. Above all, it is a powerful novel about the ways we can wield power through logic and language, and about the battle over who owns the right to knowledge and the power to tell the stories of who we are.

'A gripping story, a pithy book' - Katy Campbell.
'An increasingly powerful narrative' - Time Literary Supplement.

The history of the publication of The Birth Machine can be read here.

The Author's Note can be read on Salt’s website

The book can be purchased from Amazon here.

ELIZABETH BAINES is also the author of the novel Too Many Magpies and a collection of stories Balancing on the Edge of the World, both published by Salt.


  1. I remember this book vividly. It's a very disturbing and involving read indeed. Love the new cover image, too.

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by, Adele!