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. Carl Hiaasen unleashes Skink in new YA novel


    Carl Hiaasen didn't realize when he began writing it that his new book, Skink: No Surrender, would be his first young adult novel. "It didn't start as even a conscious decision," he says. "I just had this idea about Skink: Why not unleash him in a kids' book?"

    Hiaasen is the author of a series of zany, satirical, bestselling Florida crime novels and a much-honored journalist at the Miami Herald. Skink, as Hiaasen's many fans will know, is a recurring character in his novels for adults, such as Native Tongue and Star Island. Clinton Tyree was a Florida governor of great integrity (hey, it's fiction) who was so disgusted by political corruption he disappeared and became Skink, a South Florida hermit and guerrilla environmentalist, avenging innocent native flora and fauna by highly inventive means....

    Carl Hiaasen
  2. Review: Janet Burroway's 'Losing Tim' an eloquent memoir of loss


    How does a mother make sense of a son's suicide?

    That terrible question lies at the heart of Janet Burroway's deeply moving, fiercely beautiful memoir, Losing Tim.

    Burroway's career as a writer and teacher of writing has spanned six decades. She retired from Florida State University as a distinguished professor emerita, she is the 2014 recipient of the Florida Humanities Councils' Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing, and she is the author of Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft, now in its ninth edition and one of the most widely used books of its kind. She has written novels, plays, poetry and nonfiction — this year alone, she has published five books as author or editor and is working on bringing a musical she wrote to the stage....

    Janet Burroway
  3. Review: Tracy Crow's 'Red, White, & True' is a thoughtful collection of essays on military life


    With the U.S. military yet again stepping into new roles around the globe, Red, White, & True is a timely collection. Subtitled Stories From Veterans and Families, World War II to Present, it gathers 32 personal essays by veterans, military spouses and now-grown children.

    Tracy Crow, a veteran herself, edited the collection. A former Eckerd College instructor and the author of the memoir Eyes Right: Confessions From a Woman Marine, Crow writes in her introduction that she received many submissions for the book from veterans and included many of their stories. But she also chose essays by family members, because, she writes, "we are just beginning to understand and comprehend how children and grandchildren of veterans have been affected by military life — by military customs and traditions, the long absences, the tragic combat deaths, and a survivor's guilt."...

  4. Notable: Three books by and about women



    Women's works

    Three impressive new books by and about women explore a wide range of subjects.

    The Fame Lunches: On Wounded Icons, Money, Sex, the Brontës, and the Importance of Handbags (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) by Daphne Merkin gathers the culture critic's insightful, intimate essays on such subjects as pets and pedicures, Marilyn Monroe and Mike Tyson, Alice Munro and John Updike....

  5. Events: Local authors predict world's end at Studio@620


    Book Talk

    Rebbie MacIntyre (A Corner of the Universe) will discuss her mystery novel at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at North Branch Library, 8916 N Boulevard, Tampa.

    Wordier Than Thou presents "Doomsayers: Local Authors Predict the End of the World," featuring John Henry Fleming, Jeff Strand, Heather Jones, Cole Bellamy, Lynne Hansen, Juliana A. Torres, David Z. Morris and Edward P. Morgan III, at 7 p.m. Wednesday (Oct. 1) at Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Admission $5....

  6. Dennis Lehane talks about 'The Drop,' his Florida ties


    After years as a part-time Tampa Bay area resident, bestselling author Dennis Lehane has sold his St. Petersburg home and moved with his family to the Los Angeles area. But he still has ties, personal and professional, to Florida.

    "We got a wild hair about a month ago and came back to visit our friends, spent a couple of days at the Don (CeSar)," Lehane says by phone from Boston, where he was in the midst of a media tour in early September....

    Tom Hardy plays Bob in The Drop, the movie based on Dennis Lehane’s short story Animal Rescue. Lehane wrote the screenplay, then turned it into a novel.
  7. Notable: New mysteries featuring old favorites



    Old friends, new mysteries

    For fans of long-running crime fiction series, nothing's better than the latest chapter.

    The Long Way Home: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (Minotaur) by Louise Penny is the 10th book about the now retired Quebecois homicide detective Gamache, who's getting used to the quiet village of Three Pines — until he's pulled into the search for a missing artist....

  8. Times Festival of Reading to feature Hiaasen, Macomber, Mandvi, Stine


    Whether it makes us laugh or cry, escape from our own life or feel smarter about the world we live in, a good book often makes us wish we could meet the person who wrote it.

    At the 22nd annual Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading on Oct. 25, readers will have a chance to meet more than 40 authors who have written books for just about every taste. The writers will be discussing and signing their books at this free event on the bayside campus of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg....

    Debbie Macomber
  9. Events: Hal Bodley to sign 'How Baseball Explains America'


    Book Talk senior correspondent Hal Bodley (How Baseball Explains America) will sign his book about the sport's history at 7 p.m. Monday (Sept. 15) at Salon Lofts, 1068 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg.

    East Lake Community Library's Author Showcase presents K. Trap Jones (The Sinner) discussing and signing his horror novel at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 16) at the library, 4125 East Lake Road S, Palm Harbor....

  10. Notable: Future imperfect



    Future imperfect

    Three new books look at fact and fiction about the world before us and how we got here.

    Dataclysm: Who We Are When We Think No One's Looking (Crown) by Christian Rudder, co-founder of OkCupid, is a fascinating look at just what we're up to on social media and how many intimate details Big Data reveals.

    Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future (HarperCollins), edited by Ed Finn and Kathryn Cramer, is a collection of innovative stories by such authors as Cory Doctorow, Neal Stephenson and Elizabeth Bear that reject dystopian fiction for "techno-optimism."...

  11. Notable: splendid reading, in short form



    Short subjects

    These new books offer splendid reading in short forms.

    The Best American Short Stories 2014 (Mariner), edited by Jennifer Egan, gathers 20 stories by an all-star lineup of authors, including T.C. Boyle, Joshua Ferris, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala and Karen Russell.

    The O. Henry Prize Stories 2014: The Best Stories of the Year (Anchor Books), edited by Laura Furman, has a different set of 20 stories, by such authors as Mark Haddon, Tessa Hadley and Louise Erdrich, plus Laura van den Berg's wonderful Florida-set Opa-locka....

  12. Events: Book launch party for 'Astray' at Splitsville


    Book Talk

    Inkwood Books will hold a launch party with bowling, billiards and refreshments for Astray, the new YA novel by Amy Christine Parker, at 2 p.m. Sunday (Sept. 7) at Splitsville, 615 Channelside Drive, Suite 120, Tampa.

    Tampa author Tim Dorsey (Tiger Shrimp Tango) will discuss and sign his comic Florida mystery at 7 p.m. Tuesday (Sept. 9) at Gulfport Library, 5501 28th Ave. S; at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 10) at West Hernando Library, 6335 Blackbird Ave., Brooksville; at 6 p.m. Wednesday (Sept. 10) at Brooksville Library, 238 Howell Ave.; at 1 p.m. Saturday (Sept. 13) at Central Ridge Library, 425 W Roosevelt Blvd., Beverly Hills; and at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Lakes Region Library, 1511 Druid Road, Inverness. ...

  13. Review: James Ellroy's 'Perfidia' a perfect start in new L.A. Quartet


    James Ellroy is back at work on his version of the 20th century. And if, like me, you are among his legion of fans, you will dive into Perfidia with a shiver that is equal parts anticipation and fear — because you know it's going to get very dark very fast.

    The California writer has published 13 novels since his first, Brown's Requiem, in 1981. Ellroy began as a classic noir crime writer, but his seven major works, published between 1987 and 2009, have showcased his idiosyncratic, propulsive style and formed an interrelated body of historical fiction that focuses on the intimate entanglements of crime, law enforcement, politics, corruption and violence....

    8th December 1941:  Front page of the Monday morning Extra edition of the Los Angeles Times, announcing the Japanese air attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. The newspaper reports that 350 people were killed in the attack. The United States and Britain officially declared war on Japan later that day.
  14. Events: 'Seriously Delish' tasting, signing at Inkwood on Tuesday


    Book Talk

    Blogger Jessica Merchant (Seriously Delish) will discuss and sign her cookbook and demonstrate recipes at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Inkwood Books, 216 S Armenia Ave., Tampa. Tickets are $40 and include admission and tasting for two and one copy of the book;

    Alina Garcia-Lapuerta (La Belle Creole: The Cuban Countess Who Captivated Havana, Madrid and Paris) will discuss and sign her biography at 7 p.m. Thursday at Inkwood Books. ...

  15. Notable: Creators at work



    Work details

    Labor Day honors workers, and creative people work as hard as anyone, as these books note.

    Champagne Supernovas: Kate Moss, Marc Jacobs, Alexander McQueen, and the '90s Renegades Who Remade Fashion (Touchstone) by Maureen Callahan is a dishy, sometimes shocking account of the punks and prodigies whose work erased the line between couture and street....