Make us your home page

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

Email: cbancroft@tampabay.com

  1. Dennis Lehane talks about 'World Gone By,' why we love outlaws


    "I'm done with Tampa," Dennis Lehane says.

    "Somebody else please pick up the Tampa mantle. There's so much to do."

    Lehane's new novel, World Gone By, to be published Tuesday, is the last in his trilogy about fictional Boston-born gangster Joe Coughlin and the second set in Tampa, mainly Ybor City. Its predecessor, Live by Night, took place there during Prohibition; World Gone By picks up Coughlin's story in 1942....

    “I always thought if Boston and New Orleans had a baby, it would be Ybor City,” says Dennis Lehane, a native Bostonian.
  2. Review: Lehane's beautifully crafted 'World Gone By' brings high-velocity end to trilogy


    If you've read much about Tampa's history of organized crime, you know it's a pretty grim business. Dennis Lehane has given the city a fictional gangster with style, a guy who can rock evening clothes, whip out a line of fast patter in any situation and gracefully walk the tightrope between the worst kind of crimes and the best society: "Joe Coughlin had a gift for bringing the beacons of the city into contact with her demons and making it all seem like a lark."...

    World Gone By, By Dennis Lehane
  3. Events: A look at SunLit Festival festivities in St. Petersburg


    Book Talk

    The inaugural SunLit Festival, an eclectic celebration of St. Petersburg's literary scene, continues this week. All events are in St. Petersburg, and admission is free unless otherwise noted. Learn more at sunlitfestival.org.


    6 p.m.: Karla Harris sings the Dave and Iola Brubeck Songbook. Palladium Theater, 253 Fifth Ave. N. Tickets $22-30. mypalladium.org....

  4. Notable: New baseball books



    Rites of spring

    With spring training under way, here are three very different books about baseball.

    Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Bill Pennington is a New York Times sportswriter's definitive biography of the New York Yankees' five-time manager, still one of the sport's great characters more than 25 years after his death....

  5. First SunLit Festival celebrates St. Petersburg's literary scene


    What has "literary combat," live music, a Shakespeare play, a cookoff, a talk about reading to babies, a huge book fair, a pub crawl with "four dead writers, seven live ones," a birthday party for Jack Kerouac and more?

    The inaugural SunLit Festival, a celebration of St. Petersburg's lively literary scene, that's what. It kicks off Saturday and will include 14 events over nine days around St. Petersburg, most of them free....

    Nyela Hope, left, will portray Zora Neale Hurston and Deanna Scott will play Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings at the SunLit Crawl, part of the first SunLit Festival. 
  6. 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.
  7. 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....

  8. 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. ...

  9. 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 cbancroft@tampabay.com (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. 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. improvtampa.com. 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)
  11. 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....

  12. 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
  13. 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....

  14. 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....

  15. 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....

(C and R): Jamie Hector as Jerry Edgar, Titus Welliver as Harry Bosch