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Colette Bancroft, Times Book Editor

Colette Bancroft

Colette Bancroft is the book editor of the Tampa Bay Times. She joined the Times in 1997 and has been a news editor, general assignment features writer and food and travel writer, as well as a frequent contributor of reviews of books, theater and other arts. She became book editor in 2007. Before joining the Times, Bancroft was a reporter and editor at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and an instructor in the English departments of the University of South Florida and the University of Arizona. Bancroft grew up in Tampa.

Phone: (727) 893-8435


  1. Authors talk about what books mean to them at BookExpo America



    When Dav Pilkey, author of the bestselling Captain Underpants books for kids, told an audience of hundreds of booksellers and librarians at BookExpo America about his struggles with ADHD and dyslexia as a child, there was hardly a dry eye in the house. He wanted to thank that audience: "By putting the right book in the right hands, you are changing the world."

    Books and their impact were the main agenda May 11-13 at BEA, the annual book industry convention that brings together publishers, authors, booksellers and librarians to celebrate, and sell, the written word....

  2. Events: Diana Abu-Jaber to sign her memoir in Sarasota


    Book Talk

    Diana Abu-Jaber (Life Without a Recipe: A Memoir of Food and Family) will discuss and sign her memoir at 11 a.m. May 24 at Bookstore1, 1359 Main St., Sarasota.

    Anda Peterson (Walks With Yogi: The Enlightenment Experiment) hosts "An Evening of Musings, Music and Mindfulness" at 7 p.m. May 26 at Wine Madonna, 111 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. The event is a benefit for Wordier Than Thou and CASA. Peterson will be joined by local writers Melissa Carroll, Heather Jones and Gloria Munoz. Guitarist Bryan Zink will also perform....

  3. Review: Engel's 'Veins of the Ocean' a poignant voyage toward freedom


    Reina Castillo has spent most of her life waiting.

    As a little girl she always awaited the approval of her beloved older brother, Carlito. As she became a teenager she waited for boys to notice her, to desire her and then to leave her. And then, after Carlito committed a terrible crime, she waited in vain for legal appeals to free him — and then for his death sentence to be carried out. ...

    Author Patricia Engel
  4. Drink of the week: Joel Gott 2014 California Sauvignon Blanc a friendly summer refresher

    Bars & Spirits

    Whatever the calendar might say, the thermometer tells us it's summer here in Florida. And that means it's time for a cool, refreshing white wine.

    My summertime go-to has long been sauvignon blanc, with its bright fruit flavors and crisp finish. I'm a fan of the New Zealand sauvignon blancs, but their sometimes aggressive grapefruit-gooseberry aroma (sometimes described as cat pee) and astringent flavors are not for everyone....

    Drink of the week: Joel Gott 2014 California Sauvignon Blanc
  5. Oprah to star in, produce HBO movie of Rebecca Skloot's 'Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks'


    Six years after it was optioned for the screen, Rebecca Skloot’s smash bestseller The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks will go before the cameras this summer.

    HBO Films announced this week that Oprah Winfrey will be an executive producer, along with Skloot and Alan Ball (True Blood). Winfrey will also star in the film as Deborah Lacks, one of the main characters in Skloot’s nonfiction book.
    Deborah is one of the five children of Henrietta Lacks. A poor, uneducated African-American woman, Henrietta died at age 31 in 1951 of metastatic cervical cancer. Before she died, her doctors took cell samples from her tumor to attempt to grow them for experimental use — something that had not been done successfully at that time....

    Author Rebecca Skloot asked Twitter followers to suggest what actor should play her in the film.
  6. Review: Atkins' 'Slow Burn' a sizzling serving of Spenser


    Boston is burning.

    At the beginning of Slow Burn, the fifth novel by Ace Atkins in Robert B. Parker's Spenser series, it has been a year since a nine-alarm fire destroyed Holy Innocents Catholic Church, in Boston's South End.

    The boarded-up church was no longer active, but three firefighters died in the blaze. One of them, Pat Dougherty, was the best friend of firefighter Jack McGee, who braces private investigator Spenser at his gym. McGee believes the fire was arson, even though the Boston Fire Department's investigation was inconclusive, and he also believes it's connected to dozens of arson fires set since then all over the South Boston and South End neighborhoods, now erupting almost daily....

    Ace Atkins will discuss and sign his latest work, “Slow Burn,” May 13 in Sarasota and May 14 in Tampa.
  7. Review: Erdrich's 'LaRose' a compelling tale of disaster and survival


    Louise Erdrich waits less than two pages to pierce us with the terrible event that sets LaRose in motion.

    Landreaux Iron is hunting, as he has done all his life, along the border of the Ojibwe reservation where he lives when he spots a deer. "Landreaux took the shot with fluid confidence. When the buck popped away he realized he'd hit something else — there had been a blur the moment he squeezed the trigger. Only when he walked forward to investigate and looked down did he understand that he had killed his neighbor's son."...

  8. Notable: Memoirs about moms



    Memoirs about moms

    Three new memoirs share stories of unusual but intense mother-child relationships.

    Digging Up Mother: A Love Story (Da Capo) by Doug Stanhope, a standup comic know for his dark humor, is a no-holds-barred account of his weird but loving relationship with his mother, an alcoholic hoarder who introduced him as a child to the comedy of Monty Python and Richard Pryor. ...

  9. Events: Author Ruth Whitney to discuss, sign 'The Heart of Jesus' Teaching'


    Book Talk

    St. Petersburg author Ruth Whitney (The Heart of Jesus' Teaching: The Key to Transforming Christianity and Our World) will discuss and sign her book at 2 p.m. May 14 at Largo Public Library, 120 Central Park Drive.

    To place an item in Book Talk, send author's name, book title, appearance time, date, venue name and address, admission cost (if any) and a contact phone number to (with "Book Talk" in subject line) or Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Deadline is 14 days before publication....

  10. Local author Lori Roy makes history at the Edgar Awards


    The Edgar Awards love Lori Roy.

    "It was a very fun night," Roy said, with considerable understatement, of the Mystery Writers of America gala on Thursday night in New York City, where she won the best novel Edgar for her third book, Let Me Die in His Footsteps. Roy, who lives in Tierra Verde with her family, was speaking by phone just after her plane landed in Tampa on Friday.

    This wasn't the first Edgar banquet for Roy, 50. Bent Road, her first book, won the 2012 best first novel Edgar. Her second, Until She Comes Home, was a best novel nominee in 2014....

    Lori Roy is the only woman to have won Edgar Awards for both best first novel and best novel.
  11. Beyoncé Week: 'All the Single Ladies' author talks Beyoncé and feminist empowerment


    (Welcome to Beyoncé Week, our countdown to Beyoncé's concert on Friday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. For all our Beyoncé Week coverage, click here.)

    In March, cultural critic Rebecca Traister published All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, borrowing its title from one of Beyoncé's biggest hits. Traister writes about politics, media and entertainment from a feminist perspective for New York magazine and other publications. Her new book is both a history of single women in the United States and a wide-ranging, thoughtful, often surprising look at what it means to be a single woman today....

    Rebecca Traister
  12. Review: 'Everybody's Fool' a rollicking return for Russo's Sully


    I was holding my breath when I cracked open Richard Russo's new novel, Everybody's Fool.

    It's a sequel to his 1993 book, Nobody's Fool, which — putting aside book-critic dignity here — I simply adored. For me, it was one of those novels that you don't want to stop reading, but as you near the end you force yourself to put down for a while, just so you can prolong the pleasure of living inside it....

    Nobody's Fool by Richard Russo
  13. Notable: Millennial lives



    Millennial lives

    These books offer poetry, prose and memoir by young writers.

    Mother, Can You Not? (Crown Archetype) by Kate Siegel, based on her Instagram account @CrazyJewishMom, is an uproarious memoir about her helicopter mom's unabashed advice on everything from career to Kegel exercises.

    Quarter Life Poetry: Poems for the Young, Broke and Hangry (Grand Central) by Samantha Jayne is another Instagram-inspired collection, this one of doodle-illustrated funny poems with rhymes like "interest" and "Pinterest" and subjects like yoga pants, student loans and dating....

    cover of "Mother, Can you Not"
  14. Events: Oxford Exchange Book Fair features more than 35 local writers


    Book Talk

    More than 35 local authors will sell and sign their books at the Oxford Exchange Book Fair, which also features antiquarian books from Lighthouse Books and discussions throughout the day. The fair takes place from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today in the Commerce Club on the second floor of Oxford Exchange, 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

    Travel writer Thomas Swick (The Joys of Travel: And Stories That Illuminate Them) will discuss and sign his book at 2 p.m. Thursday at Bookstore1Sarasota, 1359 Main St., Sarasota....

  15. Review: 'Jungle of Stone' a thrilling true story of rediscovering Maya civilization


    Jungle of Stone is a tale of two men, fathers of archaeology in the Americas, that makes Indiana Jones look like a stay-at-home slacker.

    Full of astonishing adventures and breathtaking discoveries, Jungle of Stone is, best of all, a true story. William Carlsen's book, subtitled The True Story of Two Men, Their Extraordinary Journey, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya, offers a window into the early days of archaeology (so early the word had not yet been coined) and much further back into the nearly 2,000-year-long reign of a sophisticated indigenous civilization throughout the lands that are now Central America and southeastern Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula....

    Catherwood made this intricately detailed image of a Maya carved stela at Cop?n, in Honduras.