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The Bus on Thursday

Shirley Barrett
Authors:
Shirley Barrett

'Intoxicating' Jeff VanderMeer, author of Annihilation'Barrett's brilliant second novel plummets headlong into a darkly funny tale' Mail on SundayBridget Jones meets Twin Peaks in this black comedy about a woman's retreat to a remote Australian town and the horrors awaiting her.It wasn't just the bad breakup that turned Eleanor Mellett's life upside down. It was the cancer. And all the demons that came with it.One day she felt a bit of a bump when she was scratching her armpit at work. The next thing she knew, her breast was being removed by an inappropriately attractive doctor, and she was subsequently inundated with cupcakes, besieged by judgy support groups, and the ungrateful recipient of hand-knitted sweaters from her mum.Luckily, Eleanor finds that Talbingo, a remote little town, needs a primary-school teacher. Their Miss Barker upped and vanished in the night, despite being the most caring teacher ever, according to everyone. Unfortunately, Talbingo is a bit creepy. It's not only the communion-wine-swigging priest prone to rants about how cancer is caused by demons. Or the unstable, overly sensitive kids, always going on about Miss Barker and her amazing sticker system. It's living alone in a remote cabin, with no phone service or wifi, wondering why there are so many locks on the front door, and who is knocking on it late at night.Riotously funny, deeply unsettling, and surprisingly poignant, Shirley Barrett's The Bus on Thursday is a wicked, weird, wild ride for fans of Maria Semple, Stephen King and Henry James's The Turn of the Screw. And when have those three writers ever appeared in the same sentence?

Ace Atkins

Ace Atkins is a former Pulitzer Prize-nominated journalist who cut his teeth as a crime reporter in the newsroom of the Tampa Tribune. He published his first novel at the age of 27 and became a full-time novelist at 30. Ace lives on a historic farm outside Oxford, Mississippi with his family.

Alex Kava

Alex Kava is the New York Times bestselling author of the critically acclaimed series featuring former Marine Ryder Creed and his K9 dogs, and the international bestselling Maggie O'Dell series. Published in thirty-two countries with over six million copies sold, Kava's novels have been on a multitude of international bestseller lists. She is a member of the Nebraska Writers Guild and International Thriller Writers. Kava and her pack of Westies divide their time between Omaha, Nebraska and Pensacola, Florida.

Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith is the author of over eighty books on a wide array of subjects, including the award-winning The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency series. He is also the author of the Isabel Dalhousie novels and the world's longest-running serial novel, 44 Scotland Street. His books have been translated into forty-six languages. Alexander McCall Smith is Professor Emeritus of Medical Law at the University of Edinburgh and holds honorary doctorates from thirteen universities.

Ali McNamara

Ali McNamara attributes her over-active and very vivid imagination to one thing - being an only child. Time spent dreaming up adventures when she was young has left her with a head bursting with stories waiting to be told.When stories she wrote for fun on Ronan Keating's website became so popular they were sold as a fundraising project for his cancer awareness charity, Ali realised that not only was writing something she enjoyed doing, but something others enjoyed reading too. Ali lives in Cambridgeshire with her family and two Labradors. When she isn't writing, she likes to travel, read, and people-watch, more often than not accompanied by a good cup of coffee. Her dogs and a love of exercise keep her sane!To find out more about Ali visit her website: www.alimcnamara.co.uk or follow her on Twitter: @AliMcNamara

Amelia Mandeville

Amelia Mandeville has been creating stories and characters in her head ever since she can remember. When there became too many, she started to write them down. Besides getting lost in the stories she's written, Amelia spends her time attempting to bake, dyeing her hair and vlogging for the YouTube channel she shares with her sister, Grace - the aptly named The Mandeville Sisters.Amelia is the debut author of Every Colour of You.Twitter @ameliamandev Instagram @ameliamandev youtube.com/mandevillesisters

Brent Weeks

Brent Weeks was born and raised in Montana. He wrote on bar napkins and lesson plans before landing his dream job years and thousands of pages later. He is the author of the internationally bestselling Night Angel trilogy, which has sold millions of copies worldwide. Brent lives in Oregon with his wife, Kristi, and their daughters.

C M Taylor

C M Taylor grew up in Yorkshire and Suffolk. He studied at Cambridge University, worked in TV in his twenties, and then in India, Belgium and Spain. He now lives in Oxford with his wife and daughter.

Charlotte Nash

Charlotte Nash was born in historic Lincoln, England and grew up in the sunny Redland Shire of Brisbane. Obsessed with horses and riding, she began stealing her mother's Jilly Cooper novels at the age of thirteen, and has been enthusiastic for romance ever since. Always a little unconventional, she took a meandering path to writing through careers in engineering and medicine, including stints building rockets and as an industrial accident investigator. Now she writes romantic stories, and moonlights as a creative writing PhD student, studying how narratives engage the brain. She lives in a cosy Brisbane cottage with her husband and son, and a small flock of lovable chooks.

Chitra Divakaruni

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni is the author of the bestselling novels THE MISTRESS OF SPICES and SISTER OF MY HEART, the prizewinning story collections ARRANGED MARRIAGE and THE UNKNOWN ERRORS OF OUR LIVES, and four acclaimed volumes of poetry.

Claire Coleman

Claire G Coleman is a writer from Western Australia. She identifies with the South Coast Noongar people. Her family are associated with the area around Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun. Claire grew up in a Forestry's settlement in the middle of a tree plantation, where her dad worked, not far out of Perth.She wrote her black&write! fellowship-winning manuscript 'Terra Nullius' while travelling around Australia in a caravan.

Clare Mackintosh

With over 2 million copies of her books sold worldwide, number one Sunday Times bestseller Clare Mackintosh is the multi-award-winning author of I Let You Go, I See You and Let Me Lie. Clare's novels have been translated into over thirty-five languages and I Let You Go and I See You were selected for the Richard and Judy Book club. Clare is patron of the Silver Star Society, a charity based at the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford, which supports parents experiencing high-risk or difficult pregnancies. She lives in North Wales with her husband and their three children. For more information visit Clare's website www.claremackintosh.com or find her at www.facebook.com/ClareMackWrites or on Twitter @ClareMackint0sh

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles

Cynthia Harrod-Eagles is the author of the hugely popular Morland Dynasty novels, which have captivated and enthralled readers for decades. She is also the author of the contemporary Bill Slider Mystery series, as well as her new series, War at Home, which is an epic family drama set against the backdrop of World War I. Cynthia's passions are music, wine, horses, architecture and the English countryside.

David Sedaris

With sardonic wit and incisive social critiques, David Sedaris has become one of America's pre-eminent humor writers. The great skill with which he slices through cultural euphemisms and political correctness proves that Sedaris is a master of satire and one of the most observant writers addressing the human condition today. David Sedaris is the author of Barrel Fever and Holidays on Ice, as well as collections of personal essays, Naked, Me Talk Pretty One Day, Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, When You Are Engulfed in Flames and his most recent book, Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls, each of which became an immediate bestseller. The audio version of Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls was a Grammy nominee for Best Spoken Word Album. He is the author of the New York Times-bestselling collection of fables entitled Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Wicked Bestiary (with illustrations by Ian Falconer). He was also the editor of Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules: An Anthology of Outstanding Stories. Sedaris's pieces appear regularly in the New Yorker and have twice been included in 'The Best American Essays'. There are a total of ten million copies of his books in print and they have been translated into twenty-nine languages.

Delia Owens

Delia Owens is the co-author of three internationally bestselling nonfiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist in Africa including Cry of the Kalahari.She has won the John Burroughs Award for Nature Writing and has been published in Nature, The African Journal of Ecology, and many others.She currently lives in Idaho. Where the Crawdads Sing is her first novel.

E. V. Thompson

E V Thompson was born in London and spent nine years in the Navy before joining Bristol police. He moved to Hong Kong, then Rhodesia and had over 200 stories published before returning to England to become a full-time award-winning writer. He passed away in 2012.

Elizabeth Chadwick

Much of Elizabeth Chadwick's research is carried out as a member of Regia Anglorum, an early mediaeval re-enactment society with emphasis on accurately re-creating the past. She also tutors in the skill of writing historial and romantic fiction. She won a Betty Trask Award for The Wild Hunt and has been shortlisted for the RNA Awards four times.

Ivy Pembroke

Ivy Pembroke is a law professor who specialises in copyright and trademark law, with a focus on fanfiction. An enthusiastic writer all her life, she loves the backspace button, overuses italics in emails with friends, and thinks there is little better than a story that makes you smile. She splits her time between Mississippi and her home state of Rhode Island.

Jeff Abbott

Jeff Abbott is a New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling author whose books have been published in more than twenty languages. He has been nominated for numerous awards, including three times for the Edgar Award, and has won an International Thriller Writers Award, an Agatha Award and a Macavity Award. He lives in Austin with his family.

Jenny Colgan

Jenny Colgan is the author of numerous bestselling novels, including The Little Shop of Happy Ever After and Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery, which are also published by Sphere. Meet Me at the Cupcake Café won the 2012 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance and was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller, as was Welcome to Rosie Hopkins' Sweetshop of Dreams, which won the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2013. For more about Jenny, visit her website and her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter: @jennycolgan.