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. Notable: Books about Shakespeare


    Notable: Bard books Shakespeare, as ever, inspires. Here are a few more new books, from fictional to frolicsome.

    Dark Aemilia: A Novel of Shakespeare's Dark Lady (Picador) by Sally O'Reilly is a historical novel about a young woman whose life takes her from Queen Elizabeth's court to plague-ridden London, with a spell in the arms of a certain playwright....

  2. Events: Sunshine State winner Augusta Scattergood to sign novel


    Book Talk

    Cousin Vinny (The Devil's Glove) will sign his novel at 6 p.m. Thursday at Barnes & Noble St. Petersburg, 2501 Tyrone Blvd. N; and at 2 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble Brandon, 122 Brandon Town Center Drive.

    Friends of the Main Library will present Augusta Scattergood (Glory Be) discussing and signing her historical novel, a 2013-14 Sunshine State Young Reader Award winner, at 2 p.m. Saturday at the St. Petersburg Main Library, 3745 Ninth Ave. N....

  3. For poet Tess Gallagher, creativity grows from collaboration


    For many writers, poetry is a solitary craft. But for acclaimed poet Tess Gallagher, creativity is often a matter of collaboration.

    "It's really neat to have a poetry pal," she says of her recent collaborative work with Lawrence Matsuda. Gallagher and Matsuda will be reading from that work and their own poetry in St. Petersburg on Monday evening.

    Gallagher hasn't visited Florida for a long time, she says. "I lived in Pensacola during the Vietnam War, because my first husband was a pilot. I remember riding my bike all over town."...

    Tess Gallagher, who was married to acclaimed writer Raymond Carver, has collaborated with poet Lawrence Matsuda and Irish painter and storyteller Josie Gray.
  4. Review: Shakespeare's 450th birthday marked with books of satire and science


    Huzzah and happy birthday, William Shakespeare!

    This Wednesday marks the 450th birthday of the greatest playwright in the English language, a man whose work is so brilliant and enduring that, almost half a millennium after his birth, his plays are still performed every day around the world, his poetry is taught and treasured, his name is synonymous with genius.

    And the questions about him continue. Even that birthday is debatable — there are no records of Shakespeare's birth, only of his baptism on April 26, 1564, in Stratford-upon-Avon, in central England. If the April 23 birth date is correct, it provides a writerly symmetry to his life — he died on April 23, 1616....

  5. Notable: Boston Marathon bombing, a year later



    Terror and triumph

    As Tuesday marks the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings, books tell the stories.

    4:09:43: Boston 2013 Through the Eyes of the Runners (Human Kinetics Publishers) by Hal Higdon, a journalist and veteran marathon runner, gathers accounts of that day from 75 runners, many of the stories drawn from social media.

    Long Mile Home: Boston Under Attack, the City's Courageous Recovery, and the Epic Hunt for Justice (Dutton) by Scott Helman and Jenna Russell, Boston Globe reporters, reveals new details about the bombings, the responses and the massive manhunt for the Tsarnaev brothers....

  6. Events: Jonathan Rottenberg to sign book on origins of depression


    Book Talk

    The University of South Florida English department presents award-winning poet Michael Hettich (The Measured Breathing) reading his work at 6 p.m. Monday in Cooper Hall Auditorium, Room 103, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa.

    USF psychology professor Jonathan Rottenberg (The Depths: The Evolutionary Origins of the Depression Epidemic) will discuss and sign his book at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa....

  7. Review: Updike biography reveals brilliant, complex, flawed man


    Updike, the new biography of literary titan John Updike, really, really made me want to run over to my shelf full of his novels, short stories and criticism and start reading them all over again.

    I've been an ardent fan of Updike's work since I read his second novel, The Centaur, as a high school student, so it's a mark of author Adam Begley's skill that I resisted the urge and stuck with the biography. ...

    John Updike at Harvard University. Updike joined the staff of the Harvard Lampoon as a freshman, a rare achievement, and excelled in his academic career.
  8. Bestselling books of 2013 were all about the letters E and D


    You can sum up the bestselling books of 2013 with a quartet of D-words: Dan Brown, Duck Dynasty, Diary and Divergent.

    But don't forget the even bigger E-word: e-books.

    Each spring, industry bible Publishers Weekly compiles annual bestseller lists based on figures provided by major publishing companies, ranking hardcover and trade paperback books that sell more than 100,000 copies. (The threshold is lower for e-books, higher for mass-market paperbacks.)...

  9. For writer Peter Matthiessen, Florida was an enduring subject


    Writer Peter Matthiessen's books took him, and his readers, all over the globe. But he found the subject of his greatest work of fiction in Florida.

    Mr. Matthiessen died of leukemia Saturday at age 86. Over 60 years, he published more than 30 books; his final novel, In Paradise, will be published Tuesday. He was the only writer ever to win National Book Awards for both nonfiction and fiction. ...

    Peter Matthiessen, shown near his home in Sagaponack, N.Y.,  in 2008, had spent time in southwest Florida since he was a boy.
  10. Book news and events


    Book Talk

    Authors and entrepreneurs Anthony Amos and Kevin Harrington (How to Catch a Shark), Pierce Brunson (Learning Curve), Elizabeth Bunbury (On the Road), James Chittenden (The Public Triumph), Gen Dobson (Failing Successfully: Life After Debt), Meredith Rodgers (What You Don't Know . . . Just Might Hurt You) and Joseph Warren (What's in It for Me?) will sign their books at a book launch party at 5 p.m. Tuesday at CoCreative, 3902 Henderson Blvd., Suite 208, Tampa....

  11. Events: Pat Callan to read her poems at Dunedin Library


    Book Talk

    Poet Pat Callan (Field Songs) will read from and sign her book at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Dunedin Public Library, 223 Douglas Ave.

    Musician Phil Madeira (God on the Rocks: Distilling Religion, Savoring Faith) will discuss and sign his memoir, with a musical performance and whiskey tasting, at 5 p.m. Saturday at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa....

  12. Notable: Play ball



    Play ball

    Opening Day always brings with it a crop of new books about baseball.

    A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred (Crown Archetype) by George F. Will is the columnist and undaunted Cubs fan's paean to the beloved ball field as well as a look at its place in Chicago history and its effects on the team.

    1954: The Year Willie Mays and the First Generation of Black Superstars Changed Major League Baseball Forever (Da Capo) by Bill Madden goes deep into the interrelated histories of baseball and civil rights, with interviews with key players....

  13. Steinbeck's 'Grapes of Wrath' still resonates after 75 years


    Seventy-five years ago this month, John Steinbeck published his masterwork, The Grapes of Wrath. An indelible saga of Oklahoma farmers migrating to California after being displaced by the Dust Bowl, it won the Pulitzer Prize and, by unanimous vote, the National Book Award. When Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962, The Grapes of Wrath was cited by the committee as one of the main reasons for its decision....

  14. Review: Peter Matthiessen's 'In Paradise' a profound meditation on the Holocaust


    Peter Matthiessen has made a career of writing about evil.

    A prodigious researcher and a refined stylist, Matthiessen can write with ecstatic beauty, especially about the natural world. But in his more than 30 books of fiction and nonfiction, he has repeatedly addressed such themes as environmental destruction, genocide and racism with an unflinching eye. In his new novel, In Paradise, he takes what may be his deepest look yet into the abyss....

  15. Review: Stories surreal and poignant make up 'Songs for the Deaf'


    In John Henry Fleming's new short story collection, Songs for the Deaf, a wanderer makes his living reading the future in the clouds, a bullied teenager becomes a messiah, a scientist discovers a space alien's surprising secret weapon. They're all residents of the often surreal but emotionally resonant world that Fleming creates in his fiction.

    An associate professor in the creative writing program at the University of South Florida, Fleming has published a novel, The Legend of the Barefoot Mailman, and a "literary bestiary" called Fearsome Creatures of Florida; his short stories, including several of the 11 in this book, have appeared in various literary magazines and anthologies. ...