The Cactus Title Font

Sarah Haywood’s debut novel, The Cactus, is published in the UK by Two Roads and in the US and Canada by Park Row Books. It is also being translated into five languages. Chosen for WHSmith Fresh Talent 2018

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‘The Cactus will be compared to Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant Is Absolutely Fine…there is terrible poignancy’

Patricia Nicol
The Sunday Times

‘Legal battles, lapses of logic and the joys and fears of motherhood are explored in this astute, funny and moving novel of a woman learning how to let go’

Daily Mail

‘Funny, compelling, well-written…for fans of Marian Keyes who demand a bit of grit in their comic writing’

Emerald Street

‘A warm, witty portrait of a woman finally creating the family she deserves’


‘This book is charming and easy to read, the perfect tonic to this absurdly grey February’

The Pool

‘Hilarious and endearing … anchored by the splendid character of Susan’

Publishers Weekly

‘Fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine will love The Cactus … wonderfully funny and astute’

Sarra Manning Red

‘An original, engaging and totally believable character’

Graeme Simsion
The Rosie Project, and with Anne Buist, Two Steps Forward

‘If, like me, you never stopped to think what a child born of The Rosie Project’s Don Tillman and Bridget Jones might be like, there’s one way to find out. Read Sarah Haywood’s The Cactus.’

Julia Claiborne Johnson
Author of Be Frank with Me


People aren’t sure what to make of Susan Green – family and colleagues find her prickly and hard to understand, but Susan makes perfect sense to herself, and that’s all she needs.

At forty-five, she thinks her life is perfect, as long as she avoids her feckless brother, Edward – a safe distance away in Birmingham. She has a London flat which is ideal for one; a job that suits her passion for logic; and a personal arrangement providing cultural and other, more intimate, benefits. Yet suddenly faced with the loss of her mother and, implausibly, with the possibility of becoming a mother herself, Susan’s greatest fear is being realised: she is losing control. When she discovers that her mother’s will inexplicably favours her brother, Susan sets out to prove that Edward and his equally feckless friend Rob somehow coerced this dubious outcome. But when problems closer to home become increasingly hard to ignore, she finds help in the most unlikely of places.

“Equal parts intelligent, funny and devastating, Haywood breathes life into an unlikely heroine in a bold, emotionally-charged debut.”

Phaedra Patrick
Author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

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Sarah Haywood was born in Birmingham. She studied Law at Kent University and Chester College of Law, then worked as a trainee solicitor in London.

After qualification, she moved to Liverpool, working first as a solicitor, then as an advice worker with Citizens Advice. She subsequently joined the Office of the Legal Services Ombudsman, where she investigated complaints about lawyers. 

Sarah completed an Open University Creative Writing Course, followed by an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. She lives in Liverpool with her husband and two sons.

Sarah is currently working on her second novel.

When I was writing The Cactus I never anticipated that an entire art department would dress up as my book for a Halloween fancy dress competition - and win! 🎃🌵

One of many benefits of being a member of @Soc_of_Authors is the excellent magazine. The latest Ask the Author is Hilary Mantel & I can’t stop thinking about her beautiful answer to the first question: all authors should read it (& join the SoA)

It makes me very happy to hear that @JaneCorryAuthor is enjoying my book (and that the UK @TwoRoadsBooks edition is in a library in Spain) 🌵📚🇪🇸