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


  1. Garrison Keillor may be easing into retirement


    Could this mean retirement to Lake Wobegon? After 41 years as the host and guiding spirit of popular public radio series A Prairie Home Companion, Garrison Keillor is talking about handing over the keys.

    In an interview with the Berkshire Eagle before an appearance at Tanglewood in Massachusetts, Keillor, 72, said he expected to make a transition out of full-time hosting over the next two years. His replacement has already been named: Chris Thile, singer and mandolin player for Nickel Creek. Thile, 34, first appeared on APHC when he was 15 years old, and he has already guest-hosted several times....

    Garrison Keillor
  2. J.K. Rowling makes a magical announcement


    Looks like 2016 is shaping up to be a banner year for Harry Potter fans.

    On June 26, author J.K. Rowling announced that a play about Harry will open in London next summer. She chose the day for the announcement because it's the 18th anniversary of the British publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the first novel about the boy wizard (called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the United States)....

    J.K. Rowling collaborated on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
  3. Review: New books by comedians Aziz Ansari and Colin Quinn thoughtful and, yes, funny


    Maybe because so many traditional voices of authority seem to be devolving into jokes, we turn more and more to comedians for commentary on serious matters. Politics and news? Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. Feminism? Amy Schumer and Tina Fey.

    So, why not turn to Aziz Ansari for a look at how we find love in the 21st century, or Colin Quinn for thoughts on relations between the races?

    Handily enough, Ansari and Quinn have new books on those very subjects, and both have some thoughtful things to say....

  4. Notable: American history



    American history

    For Independence Day, here are three books with unique insights into our nation's past.

    Common Sense and the American Crisis I (Penguin Classics) by Thomas Paine is a new edition of the Revolutionary War patriot's fiery call to action, first published in 1776; with an introduction by constitutional expert Richard Beeman.

    Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom With America's Gutsiest Troublemakers (Dutton) by Nick Offerman, of Parks and Recreation fame, gathers entertaining profiles of 21 of his heroes, from George Washington and Benjamin Franklin to Carol Burnett and Willie Nelson. ...

  5. 'Go Set a Watchman' sparks new attention for private Harper Lee


    Many of us enjoy peaks in our careers, but very few people see a second, soaring peak at age 89.

    Harper Lee is one of them.

    Lee won the Pulitzer Prize in 1960 for To Kill a Mockingbird, her debut novel. It sold 40 million copies and became an award-winning movie as well as one of the most widely read and beloved books in American literature.

    She never published another book and, over the years, insisted she never would....

    Getty Images (2007)
  6. Review: 'Grey' more tease than new titillation


    Maybe Christian Grey should have remained a man of mystery.

    British author E.L. James became a publishing phenom in 2011 with her fan fiction turned erotica blockbuster Fifty Shades of Grey, quickly followed by Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed.

    The three novels about the BDSM-ish affair between virginal college student Anastasia Steele and control-freak rich businessman Christian Grey have sold 125 million copies worldwide, inspired a movie (with two more planned) and been the topic of endless discussion, seen as everything from empowering to a sign of the Apocalypse....

    Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie.
  7. Review: Jim Parsons is divinely funny in 'An Act of God'



    And the Lord God said unto me, "In the desert, I appeared as a burning bush. On Broadway, I appear as Sheldon Cooper. Know thy audience."

    It wasn't a private conversation between me and the deity, of course. I was in the audience in late May at Studio 54 for a performance of An Act of God, the new Broadway comedy written by David Javerbaum and starring, in a divinely inspired bit of casting, Jim Parsons....

    Emmy-winning actor Jim Parsons plays God, who appears as a “beloved television star,” in An Act of God at Studio 54 in New York.
  8. Review: Kate Walbert's 'The Sunken Cathedral' a shimmering story of love, loss


    Women become invisible after a certain age, the bitter joke goes, the only variation being which decade marks our disappearance. But Kate Walbert not only sees vanishing women — a pair of widows in their 80s, the suddenly uncertain mother of a teenage son, a middle-aged art historian with visions of a drowning city — but paints their lives in indelibly rich and vibrant colors in her stunning new novel, The Sunken Cathedral....

  9. Poetry in the air in St. Petersburg as national poets convention meets


    "Sometimes when you tell people, 'I'm a poet,' they run for the exit," Joe Cavanaugh says.

    But people who love poetry really love it, he adds. "We' re those people."

    Cavanaugh, president of the Florida State Poets Association, is talking about the people who will be attending the national convention of the Federation of State Poetry Societies in St. Petersburg Wednesday through June 28....

  10. Notable: It's Dad's day



    It's Dad's day

    Three new books look at fatherhood from different perspectives.

    The Dadly Virtues: Adventures From the Worst Job You'll Ever Love (Templeton Press), edited by Jonathan V. Last, collects 18 mostly tongue-in-cheek essays on fatherhood by such conservative writers as P.J. O'Rourke, Andrew Ferguson and Joseph Epstein.

    Every Father's Daughter: Twenty-four Women Writers Remember Their Fathers (McPherson and Co.), edited by Margaret McMullan, includes personal essays on the father-daughter bond by such eminent writers as Alice Munro, Jane Smiley and Maxine Hong Kingston....

  11. Events: University of Tampa Lectores series presents Jason Ockert


    Book Talk

    Lectores, the University of Tampa MFA in Creative Writing speaker series, presents readings by the following writers. All readings begin at 7:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public;

    Monday: Novelist Jason Ockert (Wasp Box) and memoirist S.L. Wisenberg (The Adventures of Cancer Bitch), Falk Theatre, 428 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa....

  12. St. Petersburg's Peter Meinke named poet laureate of Florida

    Human Interest

    On Monday, St. Petersburg poet laureate Peter Meinke enlarged his domain when he was named poet laureate of Florida by Gov. Rick Scott.

    "I guess I really am a Floridian now," Meinke said. "All these decades I've been thinking of myself as a guy from Brooklyn."

    Meinke, 82, has lived in St. Petersburg since 1966 and is a professor emeritus of Eckerd College. For 27 years, he was the director of its creative writing program, which he founded when the school was still known as Florida Presbyterian College. "They brought me down here to get it started," Meinke said, noting that the program was one of the first undergraduate creative writing majors in the country. ...

    Peter Meinke in 1974.
  13. No time to read the book? Watch the trailer!


    The winners of the 2015 BookReels Awards for best book trailers have been announced!

    Wait, book trailers? That's right. In the Internet epoch, in addition to needing websites, Facebook accounts, Twitter feeds, Tumblrs and heck, if they're single, Tinder, to promote themselves, savvy authors need video trailers for their books.

    One of the savviest is Gary Shteyngart, whose trailer for his excellent, hilarious memoir, Little Failure, took top honors. Shteyngart's co-stars include Rashida Jones, James Franco and Jonathan Franzen. You can watch it and a bunch of other winners, including trailers for books by Aasif Mandvi and B.J. Novak, at

    Gary Shteyngart's trailer for his excellent, hilarious memoir, "Little Failure," took top honors at the 2015 BookReels Awards.
  14. Library of Congress names first Hispanic U.S. poet laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera


    The Library of Congress announced Wednesday that California poet and professor Juan Felipe Herrera will be the next U.S. poet laureate.

    Herrera, 66, is the first Hispanic poet named to the post since it was instituted in 1986. In a statement released by the Library of Congress, he said, "This is a mega-honor for me, for my family and my parents who came up north before and after the Mexican Revolution of 1910 — the honor is bigger than me. I want to take everything I have in me, weave it, merge it with the beauty that is in the Library of Congress, all the resources, the guidance of the staff and departments, and launch it with the heart-shaped dreams of the people. It is a miracle of many of us coming together."...

    Juan Felipe Herrera will become the U.S. poet laureate in September.
  15. It wasn't me


    First, in one of the stranger marketing ploys in publishing history, Penguin Random House kept Grey, E.L. James' companion volume to her hugely bestselling Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy, a deep, dark, singular secret until two and a half weeks before its publication date on June 18.

    Today the publisher reports that a manuscript of Grey has been stolen, and it's feared the thief may distribute unauthorized copies. As the Daily Mail reports, though, details of the theft seem to be under lock and key:...

    E.L. James' "Grey" tells the "Fifty Shades" story from Christian Grey's point of view.