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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. Before coming to Tampa, Carl Hiaasen talks writing satire in the age of Trump


    When Carl Hiaasen speaks on March 5 at the Straz Center in Tampa, he says, "I'll probably talk about the headlines, politics, Florida's role in the national death augur."

    Those are subjects he knows well. For more than 40 years, Hiaasen has covered his native state as a journalist, most of that time for the Miami Herald. In his widely syndicated columns, he employs investigative reporting skills and sharply satirical humor to address state and national issues....

    Hiaasen: “What’s going on in Tallahassee is laughable, too, but it has a bigger impact. ... Did you hear that Rick Scott has started tweeting? And now he’s doing robocalls. Well, look at him — what other kind of call could he do?”
  2. Review: Christine Lennon's 'Drifter,' set in Gainesville, a compelling story of the impact of murder


    Serial killers often leave an indelible dark smear on the public memory. But their impact on those who knew their victims, the friends and family who survive, can be far worse.

    Christine Lennon's first novel, The Drifter, explores that impact with a story that many Floridians will recognize with a shudder. It's based on the horrific killings committed in Gainesville in 1990 by Danny Rolling. ...

  3. Events: Robert Macober to sign 'An Honorable War' at Haslam's


    Book Talk

    Bestselling author Robert Macomber (An Honorable War: The Spanish-American War Begins) will discuss and sign his latest naval historical novel at 2 p.m. Feb. 26 at Haslam's Book Store, 2025 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

    Novelist and Pulitzer Prize-winning Miami Herald columnist Carl Hiaasen (Razor Girl) will speak at 7:30 p.m. March 5 at Ferguson Hall, David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, Tampa. Tickets cost $35 to $55 at ...

  4. Drink of the week: Casteller Cava

    Bars & Spirits

    Most of us aren't heading for the glitzy Oscars parties in Hollywood, but it's still fun to celebrate the movie industry's big night at home.

    To toast the winners (and yourself when you pick them) on Sunday, pour a flute or two of Casteller Cava, Metodo Tradicional. This Spanish sparkler offers sophisticated flavor for a bargain price, about $13 at wine shops.

    Casteller's vineyards, in the Penedés region in northeastern Spain, produce the grapes, a combination of macabeo, xarello and parellada, used for this sparkler. The wine is made using the traditional methode champenoise and aged on the lees for 12 months....

  5. Times' Craig Pittman among Tampa Bay authors to win Florida Book Awards


    Tampa Bay authors were awarded handsomely in the 2016 Florida Book Awards, the winners of which were announced Saturday.

    Tampa Bay Times environmental reporter Craig Pittman won the gold medal for Florida nonfiction for his book Oh, Florida! How America's Weirdest State Influences the Rest of the Country.

    Pittman's book, a look at some of the state's most unusual events, has received international attention....

    USF professor Jay Hopler, author of 'The Abridged History of Rainfall.'
  6. Events: Karen Brown to sign 'The Clairvoyants' at Oxford Exchange


    Book Talk

    Local lawyer Thomas Berg (Divorce Florida Style) will discuss and sign his book at 2 p.m. Feb. 19 at Haslam's Book Store, 2025 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

    Tampa author Karen Brown (The Clairvoyants) will discuss and sign her novel at 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Oxford Exchange, 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

    Events are free unless otherwise noted. 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....

  7. Review: Timothy B. Tyson's 'Blood of Emmett Till' reveals another layer of tragedy


    Emmett Till, it turns out, died for nothing like a good reason, only the worst reasons: racism, ignorance and fear.

    And he did not die for the reason raised at the trial of the two men accused of his murder in 1955: that Till, a black 14-year-old boy, had come into a store in the town of Money, Miss., and assaulted the young white woman behind the counter, "grabbed her around the waist and uttered obscenities." ...

    In the summer of 1955, 14-year-old Emmett Till was kidnapped and brutally killed in Mississippi. His white killers were later acquitted, in part because a white woman accused him of assault. Now, 50 years later, she has said it was “not true.”
  8. Michael Connelly is heading back to Tampa to finish his new book


    "I can write wherever I'm at," Michael Connelly says, "but I get my best groove in my home in Tampa."

    Speaking by phone from Los Angeles recently, Connelly was on his way back to Tampa, not only to finish his new novel, The Late Show — one of two he'll publish this year — but to appear at a screening on Feb. 19 of The Lincoln Lawyer, based on his 2005 book, at Tampa Theatre....

    Matthew McConaughey, left, plays Mickey Haller in The Lincoln Lawyer, based on the 2005 Michael Connelly book. The film will be screened today at Tampa Theatre, and Connelly will be there.
  9. Bancroft: Free speech is not always pretty, but it is for everyone — including Milo Yiannopolous


    George Orwell tops bestseller lists with a 68-year-old book. A Margaret Atwood novel is cited on Women's March protest signs. And when inflammatory, self-described troll and Donald Trump partisan Milo Yiannopoulos gets a book contract, it sparks talk of a boycott against an entire publishing house.

    Welcome to the brave new world of books in the time of Trump.

    I never expected books to be making news as part of the onset of Trump's presidency. After all, he is by his own admission a man who rarely, if ever, reads books. (He pretty clearly has not read the bestselling Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.) Trump's name appears on the covers of more than a dozen books, but he didn't write them himself. One hundred and forty characters seems to be his authorial limit....

    Sales of Orwell’s 1984 have surged amid worries about free speech. That’s great. Not great is a plan to boycott the publisher of a Trump partisan’s book.
  10. Notable: young love



    Young love

    With Valentine's Day near, here are three new YA novels built around love stories.

    The Careful Undressing of Love (Dutton) by Corey Ann Haydu is set in a reimagined version of New York City where the girls who live on a certain street in Brooklyn might just carry a curse that kills those they love.

    The Edge of Everything (Bloomsbury USA) by Jeff Giles is a supernatural thriller about Zoe, a teenage girl trying to survive a terrible time in her life, and the mysterious X, a bounty hunter from another world. ...

  11. Events: Cathy Salustri to discuss, sign 'Backroads to Paradise'


    Book Talk

    Local journalist and author Cathy Salustri (Backroads to Paradise: A Journey to Rediscover Old Florida) will discuss and sign her book at 2 p.m. Feb. 12 at Haslam's Book Store, 2025 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; and at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at Mirror Lake Library, 280 Fifth St. N, St. Petersburg.

    Burton Hersh (Edward Kennedy: An Intimate Biography) will lead a discussion by five other local authors, Diane Sawyer (The Tell-Tale Treasure), Michael Tavon (God Is a Woman), Nancy Hartwell (Harem Slave), Brian Simpson (Island Dogs) and Mary Hill (The Gift), at 2 p.m. Feb. 18 at St. Petersburg Main Library, 3745 Ninth Ave N....

  12. Interview: George Saunders discusses his positive midlife crisis before Tampa Theatre talk


    "I like the idea of a book that teaches you how to read it," George Saunders says.

    His new novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, is just such a book. Saunders' innovative short stories and novellas have been winning prizes and garnering critical praise (and a MacArthur "genius" award for the author) since he began publishing in the mid 1990s, but this is his first novel.

    Saunders will be at the Tampa Theatre to talk about Lincoln in the Bardo on Feb. 18. In a phone interview, he talked about its origin, its unusual structure and the star-studded audiobook version, with a cast of 166 different voices....

    Critically acclaimed writer George Saunders will be at the Tampa Theatre on Feb. 18 to discuss his novel, Lincoln in the Bardo.
  13. Review: Saunders' 'Lincoln in the Bardo' a moving, surreal novel of death and life


    The narrators of George Saunders' novel Lincoln in the Bardo do not recognize President Abraham Lincoln, even though it's 1862 and the Civil War is raging like wildfire.

    Those characters just see Lincoln as "an exceedingly tall and unkempt fellow. ... all elbows and knees," who may or may not be sobbing.

    How could they know who the great man is, or what personal tragedy has struck him, or how the country is shattered by war? The passage of time ended for them some ways back. They're dead — and they don't even know that....

  14. Drink of the week: Press Run 2014 Monterey County Pinot Noir

    Bars & Spirits

    On Valentine's Day, I am all about the Champagne. What better time for the world's most romantic wine, for the tingle of those millions of tiny bubbles?

    But. There is that other Valentine hallmark: chocolate. Although Champagne is great with chocolate (it's great with anything), there is something deeply luxurious and sensual about the combination of chocolate and red wine.

    I still remember the first time a restaurateur urged me to sip a glass of burgundy with a slice of chocolate cake. I thought she was nuts until I tried it. I've been playing variations on that pairing ever since....

  15. Notable: Books of black history



    Books of black history

    For Black History Month, here are three compelling reads.

    Amiable With Big Teeth (Penguin Classics) by Claude McKay is a recently discovered novel by the influential Harlem Renaissance author, recounting political struggles between communists and black nationalists in 1930s Harlem.

    Hidden Figures: Young Readers Edition (Harper) by Margot Lee Shetterly is a version for kids of the inspiring true story (now a hit movie) of four African-American women, all math whizzes, who helped launch America into space....