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. Events: Deanna Bennett to launch 'Anna: American Journey'


    Book Talk

    East Lake Community Library will host a book launch for Deanna Bennett (Anna: American Journey), who will discuss and sign the second novel in her trilogy at 6 p.m. Friday at the library, 4125 East Lake Road, Palm Harbor.

    Author and vendor applications for the 2014 Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading, which will be Oct. 25 at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, are available at

  2. Review: 'The Forsaken' is a darkly exciting thrill ride


    Quinn Colson, former U.S. Army Ranger and veteran of "thirteen tours of Iraq and Trashcanistan," has returned to his hometown of Jericho, Miss., and become the county sheriff. But as The Forsaken, Ace Atkins' fourth novel about Quinn, begins, the lawman isn't so sure he wants the job anymore.

    Atkins, formerly a reporter for the St. Petersburg Times (now the Tampa Bay Times) and the Tampa Tribune, is one busy novelist these days. Each year, besides a book in his series about Quinn, he writes a book in the bestselling Spenser series created by Robert B. Parker, who died in 2010....

  3. Notable: The U.S. space program beyond the moon landing



    Beyond the moon

    Neil Armstrong's moon landing was the first step; these books deal with later developments in the U.S. space program.

    Curiosity: An Inside Look at the Mars Rover Mission and the People Who Made It Happen (Prometheus Books) by Rod Pyle looks at the engineers and scientists who made the mission possible (including "Mohawk Guy") and the adventures of Curiosity, the most advanced machine ever sent to another planet....

  4. Review: James Lee Burke's 'Wayfaring Stranger' a terrific tale


    James Lee Burke's terrific new novel, Wayfaring Stranger, is a departure from his three crime fiction series about former New Orleans detective Dave Robicheaux and two Texas lawmen, the cousins Hackberry and Billy Bob Holland.

    But as I was reading it, a line from a crime fiction classic, Raymond Chandler's The Long Goodbye, kept ringing through my head: "There ain't no clean way to make a hundred million bucks." It's a lesson Weldon Holland, the book's hero, learns most vividly and violently....

    The main character of Wayfaring Stranger has a brush with bank robbers Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow that will reverberate in surprising ways.
  5. Florida Humanities Council features state's writers in Forum magazine summer issue


    For a fine crop of summer reading, you can depend on the Florida Humanities Council's magazine, Forum.

    The quarterly publication, available in print or online at, builds its summer issue around the winners of the Florida Book Awards. This year its online edition includes excerpts from books by David Kirby, Laura Lee Smith and Randy Wayne White, a photo slideshow from a book by Carlton Ward Jr., audio and video interviews with authors and historians, and more....

  6. Notable: Winding up three fantasy trilogies



    Three by three

    These new books round out three bestselling fantasy and science fiction trilogies.

    The Book of Life: All Souls Trilogy (Viking) by Deborah Harkness completes the series about Diana Bishop, a globe-trotting, time-traveling historian-witch in pursuit of a mysterious alchemical manuscript.

    The Magician's Land (Viking) by Lev Grossman is the third act in the story of Quentin Coldwater, a young magician now cast out of Fillory, the enchanted but imperiled land he once ruled as king....

  7. Events: Lynn Combes to discuss 'Garden Full of Butterflies'


    Book Talk

    East Lake Community Library's Author Showcase presents Lynn Combes (Garden Full of Butterflies) discussing and signing her novel at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the library, 4125 East Lake Road, Palm Harbor.

    Tampa Bay Times Real Florida writer Jeff Klinkenberg will be the featured reader at Wordier Than Thou, an open mic storytelling series, at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Open mic readers get 10 minutes each for short stories or nonfiction prose; $5 suggested donation. ...

  8. J.K. Rowling serves up new dish on Harry Potter and pals


    Not all of the Harry Potter news is coming out of Orlando. Some of it is datelined Patagonia, site of the current Quidditch Cup World Final.

    On Tuesday, author J.K. Rowling posted a witty new short story on, her online source for everything Harry. Writing under the guise of Rita Skeeter, that aptly named incorrigible insect of a gossip columnist (played in the films by Miranda Richardson), Rowling drops some tidbits updating her beloved characters as well as gleefully getting her digs in at the tabloid press....

    Author J.K. Rowling has spun a new short Harry Potter story on
  9. Readings, panel will salute Maya Angelou in Brandon


    When poet, memoirist, cultural icon and Medal of Freedom recipient Maya Angelou died on May 28, her passing was marked and mourned around the world.

    A local salute to Angelou will take place on Saturday, sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times, Barnes & Noble Brandon and the Hillsborough County School District.

    Times columnist Ernest Hooper will lead a panel discussion by Times book editor Colette Bancroft, poet and Saint Leo University instructor Gianna Russo and others. The event will also feature readings of Angelou's poetry and art inspired by her work and life....

    Poet and memoirist Maya Angelou died May 28 at her Winston-Salem, N.C., home. She was 86.
  10. Notable: Historical British royals in fact and fiction



    Battles royal

    In fiction or fact, readers just can't get enough of the flamboyant histories of British royals.

    Sisters of Treason (Simon & Schuster) by Elizabeth Fremantle is a novel about the two sisters of Lady Jane Grey trying to survive and thrive in the courts of Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I after Jane's execution.

    Tudors Versus Stewarts: The Fatal Inheritance of Mary, Queen of Scots (St. Martin's) by Linda Porter is a British historian's account of the several generations of sometimes violent conflict in the 16th century between two powerful families....

  11. Events: Linda Petrat to discuss and sign memoir in Dunedin


    Book Talk

    Linda Petrat (A Great Big Adventure on a Good Little Boat) will discuss and sign her memoir at 7 p.m. Wednesday (July 9) at Dunedin Public Library, 223 Douglas Ave.

    Ray Weaver (Final Justice) will discuss his novel and the art of writing at 11 a.m. Thursday (July 10) at Stratford Court, 48 Katherine Blvd., Palm Harbor.

    Lorin Oberweger and Veronica Rossi (Boomerang) will sign their romance novel at 4 p.m. Saturday (July 12) at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa....

  12. Review: Authors mine relationships with J.D. Salinger and Harper Lee


    Imagine that one of the most beloved, bestselling — and reclusive — American authors invited you to move in next door, or called the office where you worked and engaged you in friendly conversations. Would getting to know an author whom millions of readers could only dream of meeting change your life? • For Marja Mills and Joanna Rakoff, the answer would be yes. • Mills was a Chicago journalist in 2001 when she knocked on the door of the Monroeville, Ala., house where Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, had lived for decades. Novelist Rakoff (A Fortunate Age) was a 24-year-old fresh out of graduate school in 1996 when she was hired as an assistant at a New York literary agency (even though she didn't exactly know what a literary agency did) whose most important client was J.D. Salinger, of The Catcher in the Rye fame. • Mills' memoir, The Mockingbird Next Door, is an engaging look at the everyday life of the woman who created Atticus Finch, Scout and Jem. Rakoff's My Salinger Year focuses more on her life as a young woman trying to find her way in New York, but it also gives us intriguing glimpses of Salinger, who influenced her in unexpected ways....

    Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
  13. Review: 'Liberty's Torch' shines light on an icon's creation


    Every American schoolchild learns the story: In a grand gesture representing their shared reverence for freedom, France presented to a grateful United States the imposing 305-foot Statue of Liberty. Since the 1886 dedication, she has raised her torch above New York Harbor, symbol of a welcoming nation.

    Except, like all history, the story is a little more complicated than that.

    Elizabeth Mitchell takes us inside the statue's history in Liberty's Torch: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty. Mitchell, a journalist who has written books about horse racing (Three Strides Before the Wire) and politics (W: Revenge of the Bush Dynasty), builds this book around the biography of the French sculptor who conceived and created the statue, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi....

    Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi worked for more than a decade to get supporters to raise money to build the massive statue.
  14. Notable: American lives (Elizabeth Warren, Antonin Scalia and the Koch brothers)



    American lives

    An autobiography and two biographies take readers inside the lives of politically influential figures.

    A Fighting Chance (Metropolitan Books) by Elizabeth Warren is the senior Massachusetts senator's account of her life, from a hard-knock Oklahoma childhood to a professorship at Harvard and a career in politics.

    Scalia: A Court of One (Simon & Schuster) by Bruce Allen Murphy is a deeply researched biography of the U.S. Supreme Court justice, exploring how the man once expected to unite the court's conservatives has instead often divided them....

  15. Review: Rowling gleefully skewers publishing in 'The Silkworm'


    Last year, an unknown writer named Robert Galbraith published a mystery novel, The Cuckoo's Calling. It got positive reviews and was selling pretty well for a first book — until Galbraith was revealed to be Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling, and it shot up bestseller lists.

    Rowling said she had published it under a pen name just to see what kind of reception it got. That experiment done, she has continued the adventures of London private investigator Cormoran Strike and his assistant, Robin Ellacott, in The Silkworm, published Thursday. ...