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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. James Swain deals a new novel about casino scams, 'Take Down'


    On a recent Tuesday evening in the Tap Room, the cozy restaurant in the Hollander Hotel in downtown St. Petersburg, a young boy watched a man pour a deck of cards between his hands like water, pluck from the deck eight different cards chosen by onlookers, and drop a tiny red ball into a silver cup — and pull out a baseball.

    "Whoa! How did you do that?" the boy gasped.

    Good question, and pretty much the same question that led the magician, James Swain, to write his latest book....

    After doing a magic trick at the weekly gig he recently signed on for at the Tap Room restaurant at the Hollander Hotel in downtown St. Petersburg, author James Swain shares a fist bump with an audience member. Swain, 58, lives in Odessa with his wife, Laura.
  2. Review: Set in Tampa, Sterling Watson's 'Suitcase City' a noir revenge tale


    Tampa is suddenly showing up in new novels, although those literary depictions might not be exactly what the tourist bureau would order.

    Next Tuesday, Dennis Lehane's World Gone By will be published, the third book in an epic gangster trilogy, set in a violence-racked Ybor City in the 1940s. But beating Lehane to print by a week is his former professor Sterling Watson with Suitcase City, a noir revenge tale set in Tampa in the late 1990s....

  3. Notable: Short form fantasy



    Short form fantasy

    Fans of fantasy and science fiction will welcome short story collections by three masters.

    Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Tales (Clarion Books) by Terry Pratchett, illustrated by Mark Beech, collects 14 previously unpublished funny stories for kids and adults by the beloved British author of Discworld and much more. ...

  4. Events: Lisa Kirchner to discuss, sign her memoir


    Book Talk

    Lisa Kirchner (Hello American Lady Creature: What I Learned as a Woman in Qatar) will discuss and sign her memoir at 2 p.m. March 1 at Safety Harbor Public Library, 101 Second St.; and at 4 p.m. March 7 at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa.

    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....

  5. Margaret Cho brings comedy with a political edge


    Margaret Cho has been everywhere lately — playing a North Korean military official on the Golden Globes awards show and being interviewed about images of Asians on TV with the debut of Fresh Off the Boat. Now she'll be in Tampa, returning to her roots in no-holds-barred standup comedy that critiques social and political problems, especially relating to race and sexuality. $25. Improv Comedy Theater, 1600 E Eighth Ave., Tampa. (813) 864-4000. 8 and 10:30 p.m. Friday, 7:30 and 10 p.m. Saturday....

    LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 15:  Actress Margaret Cho attends The Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences 2012 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on September 15, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
  6. Events: Pulitzer winner Leonard Pitts Jr. to speak at USF


    Book Talk

    Nathan Van Coops (Chronothon) will sign the second volume in his time travel trilogy at 2 p.m. Feb. 22 at Haslam's Book Store, 2025 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

    The University of South Florida Humanities Institute presents Pulitzer Prize-winning Miami Herald columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. (Freeman) speaking on "The War That Would Not End," followed by a book signing, at 6 p.m. Feb. 24 at C.W. Bill Young Hall 206 on the USF campus, 4202 E Fowler Ave., Tampa....

  7. Review: Lisa Unger's 'Crazy Love You' blurs fantasy and reality


    In Lisa Unger's new psychological thriller, Crazy Love You, narrator Ian Paine makes his living as the writer and illustrator of a popular graphic novel series called Fatboy and Priss.

    His books reverse the common gender roles of male superheroes protecting vulnerable women, with Fatboy a hulking schlub who might as well have a target for bullies tattooed on his broad back, and Priss — well, Priss is something else....

    Lisa Unger, In the Blood
  8. Notable: I want to believe in 'X-Files' books



    I want to believe

    If you're impatient for news about the rumored new X-Files movie, here are books by the TV series' stars, plus a new graphic novel, to soothe you.

    Holy Cow: A Modern-Day Dairy Tale (Farrar, Straus & Giroux) by David Duchovny, a.k.a. FBI Agent Fox Mulder, is a novel of sly Swiftian satire about Elsie Bovary, a cow who goes on the run with her animal pals to escape industrial farming....

  9. Events: Amanda Palmer to sign her book at Inkwood in Tampa


    Book Talk

    Punk musician and author Amanda Palmer (The Art of Asking: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help) will discuss and sign her book, which is based on her TED talk, at 1 p.m. Feb. 15 at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa

    University of South Florida St. Petersburg English professor Julie Armstrong (editor, Cambridge Companion to American Civil Rights Literature) will discuss "The Civil Rights Movement in the Literary Imagination" at noon Feb. 17 in the Poynter Memorial Library on the USFSP campus, 140 Seventh Ave. S, St. Petersburg....

  10. Tampa's Michael Connelly brings 'Bosch' books to TV with Amazon Prime series

    The Feed

    Tampa novelist Michael Connelly is raising his show business profile.

    He has been writing bestselling crime fiction set in Los Angeles for more than 20 years and this week launches his best-known character onto television.

    Bosch, an original TV series for Amazon Prime based on Connelly's 19 books about Los Angeles Police Department Detective Harry Bosch, premieres Friday. As executive producer and writer, he has had plenty of hands-on involvement in the series....

    Titus Welliver, left, (Deadwood) plays title character Harry Bosch and Jamie Hector (The Wire) plays Jerry Edgar.
  11. Perspective: Do 'To Kill a Mockingbird' author Harper Lee's wishes matter? (w/video)


    Harper Lee darn near broke the Internet on Tuesday.

    The first wave of reaction was general rejoicing at the news that on July 17 the author of the beloved and bestselling To Kill a Mockingbird would release Go Set a Watchman, a previously unpublished novel that she wrote before Mockingbird. It will be her second book ever, coming out 55 years after Mockingbird and a sequel of sorts with Scout Finch as a young adult....

    Once an artist rises to greatness, do her intentions for her work outweigh the public’s right to read it?
  12. Events: Thriller author David Baldacci to speak in Sarasota


    Book Talk

    Albert Farr, chairman of the English department at St. Petersburg College, will speak on The Darkest Child by Delores Phillips at noon Tuesday (Feb. 10) at St. Peter's Episcopal Cathedral, 140 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. Lunch available, $5.

    The Library Foundation for Sarasota County presents bestselling thriller writer David Baldacci (The Escape) as speaker at a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday (Feb. 11) at the Devyn, 7113 S Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Tickets $90 and $150 at ...

  13. Harper Lee publishing 'To Kill a Mockingbird' sequel in July (w/video)


    The countless fans of To Kill a Mockingbird who have longed for another book from author Harper Lee will finally get their wish.

    On July 14, almost exactly 55 years to the day after Mockingbird was published, HarperCollins Publishing's Harper imprint will release Go Set a Watchman, the second novel by the acclaimed but reclusive author ever to see print.

    It's good news for readers, but there are some questions about why, after Lee has insisted for decades she would not publish another book, she seems to have changed her mind. According to a news release from her publisher, Lee, 88, wrote Watchman before she wrote Mockingbird, although it is a sequel to Mockingbird's story. The main character of Watchman is Jean Louise "Scout" Finch as a young adult. The plot has her returning from New York City to Maycomb, Ala., to visit her father, Atticus Finch, in the mid 1950s, about 20 years after the events of Mockingbird. ...

    Harper Lee published To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960 when she was 34. The novel won a Pulitzer Prize in 1961.
  14. Historian Gary Mormino receives lifetime achievement award


    For Gary Mormino, winning the Florida Humanities Council's 2015 Florida Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing "came out of the blue sky."

    "I'm grateful, I'm shocked, I'm excited," he said. "I've stood on the shoulders of giants."

    Mormino, 68, was chosen by a five-person panel (including myself) from a field of 15 nominees. He is the sixth writer to receive the award, which will be presented April 10 at the Florida Book Awards at the Governor's Mansion in Tallahassee. ...

    Author and historian Gary Mormino, pictured in his office in 2012, is the co-founder of the Florida studies program at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg and the Frank E. Duckwall Florida professor of history emeritus. The St. Petersburg resident still teaches one class a year (on the history of food).