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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. Summer books set the stage for your vacations


    For some of us, choosing the right book to read on vacation is almost as important as choosing the right destination.

    Publishers know well how many people think of vacation as an opportunity to read — summer always brings a flood of new books, and this year is no exception.

    The biggest literary event of the season, of course, will be the publication of Harper Lee's second book ever, Go Set a Watchman, on July 14. I don't know any more about it than you do, since Lee's publisher is not providing advance review copies to critics. Will it be as memorable a novel as To Kill a Mockingbird, or an author's early effort that should have stayed in the desk drawer, or something in between? We'll all find out together....

  2. Notable: Books in flight




    Three new nonfiction books look at human flight, from its early days to its future.

    Beyond: Our Future in Space (W.W. Norton) by Chris Impey, a distinguished astronomer, looks at the wanderlust that has inspired space exploration and the advances, from solar sails to suspended animation, that could shape its future.

    First to Fly: The Story of the Lafayette Escadrille, the American Heroes Who Flew for France in World War I (Atlantic Monthly Press) by Charles Bracelen Flood is the compelling story of the squadron of adventurous young American pilots who were among the first to engage in air combat....

  3. Tell us about your BookCon plans


    Tell us about your BookCon plans

    Are you planning to attend BookCon 2015 in New York City on May 30-31? If so, the Tampa Bay Times would like to talk to you. Contact Colette Bancroft at or (727) 893-8435.

  4. Events: Fawn Germer to discuss 'Work-Life Reset'


    Book Talk

    Bestselling author Fawn Germer (Work-Life Reset) will discuss her memoir of trekking 70 miles on Pinellas beaches at 7 p.m. Thursday at Dunedin Public Library, 223 Douglas Ave.

    Local author Shary Hauer (Insatiable: A Memoir of Love Addiction) will read from and sign her book at 6 p.m. Thursday at Barnes & Noble Clearwater, 23654 U.S. 19 N....

  5. In 'The Tempest: Esta Isla Es Mia,' Freefall Theatre merges Shakespeare and Cuba



    The set for the next production at Freefall Theatre includes 9 tons of sand on the stage. But don't expect a day at the beach.

    The Tempest: Esta Isla Es Mia is an adaptation of one of William Shakespeare's greatest plays. Eric Davis, Freefall's artistic director, wrote the one-man play and will star in it. This will be the first one-person play presented on Freefall's main stage....

    Eric Davis wrote and stars in Freefall Theatre’s “The Tempest: Esta Isla Es Mia,” an adaptation of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”
  6. Authors Michael Connelly, Michael Lister talk books in St. Petersburg


    Corky Lahey and Marylin Vallis didn't just show up early for a book talk and signing by Michael Connelly and Michael Lister on Thursday night in St. Petersburg.

    "We were here for batting practice," Lahey said. "We've been here since 3 o'clock."

    The couple, who split their time between Hudson and Long Island, said Connelly is their favorite author. They're not alone. His crime fiction — 27 novels and counting — has sold more than 58 million copies worldwide....

    Michael Connelly, left, and Michael Lister talk about their novels and influences Thursday at Genaro Coffee in St. Petersburg.
  7. Review: Spenser's latest case takes him to Tampa in Ace Atkins' 'Kickback'


    Oh, Spenser, bless your big old meticulous heart.

    If Robert B. Parker's Boston private eye weren't already one of my fictional heroes, he would be after his response to another character in Kickback who tells him someone works in "Tampa Bay."

    " 'Tampa Bay is a body of water,' I said. 'Is he in Tampa or St. Pete?' "

    Actually, for that accuracy about Tampa and environs, which play a substantial role in the latest Spenser book, we can thank author Ace Atkins, who was chosen to continue the series after Parker's death in 2010. In the 1990s Atkins was a reporter at the Tampa Tribune and the then-St. Petersburg Times, and he knows the area well. (In 2006 he published White Shadow, a terrific crime novel set in Tampa and based on the real-life 1955 murder of crime boss Charlie Wall.)...

    This photo released by Penguin shows author Ace Atkins poses in the Arcade Resturant in Memphis. (AP Photo/Jay Nolan, Penguin)
  8. Events: Author David C. Edmonds to appear at Wordier Than Thou


    Book Talk

    Local author David C. Edmonds (Lily of Peru) will be the featured reader at the next Wordier Than Thou open mic event at 7 p.m. May 19 at Studio@620, 620 First Ave. S, St. Petersburg. Admission is $5.

    Local author Joseph DeMark (Finding Aaron Laws: A Walter Spotsman Mystery) will discuss and sign his novel at 2 p.m. May 21 at Clearwater East Public Library, 2251 Drew St....

  9. Notable: gifts for graduates



    Grist for grads

    It's the time of year when graduates are gifted with inspiring books; here are three new ones.

    A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life (Simon & Schuster) by Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman recounts how film and TV producer Grazer (24, Arrested Development, Empire) has expanded his creativity through "curiosity conversations" with people from all walks of life....

  10. Review: Tampa Repertory presents a subtle and layered 'Betrayal'


    TAMPA — Nobel Prize winner Harold Pinter's 1978 play Betrayal is one of his best known and most frequently produced works. The three-person drama is an icily clever dissection of adultery and marriage, which by the time Pinter is done with them don't look all that different.

    Tampa Repertory Theatre's production of Betrayal captures Pinter's ambiguities and ironies, and its actors rise to the challenge of its unusual structure. The play is set in London over almost a decade, from 1968 to 1977, but its action moves back in time rather than forward. The first scene shows us former lovers Emma and Jerry meeting two years after their seven-year affair has ended; the final scene shows their first kiss. Much of the dialogue in Betrayal is multi-layered, its true meaning only revealed as the play moves back in time. ...

    Greg Thompson and Emilia Sargent in Harold Pinter’s Betrayal at Tampa Repertory Theatre.
  11. Michael Connelly, Michael Lister to talk books in St. Petersburg


    A once-infamous real-life murder case and a famous fictional detective have significant roles in Florida author Michael Lister's latest novel.

    Innocent Blood is a prequel to Lister's previous six mysteries about former cop turned prison chaplain John Jordan. The new book recounts the first case Jordan ever investigated, back when he was 18 years old: the Atlanta child murders in 1979-81....

    Innocent Blood is Florida author Michael Lister’s latest work. He and Michael Connelly will appear together in St. Petersburg on May 14.
  12. Notable: women's worlds



    Women's worlds

    Mom, is that Mother's Day gift card burning a hole in your pocket? Consider new books by terrific female authors.

    The Children's Crusade (Scribner) by Ann Packer is a sweeping family saga set in Northern California and spanning three decades and two generations, told from the points of view of Bill and Penny Blair and their four adult children....

  13. Review: Jobsite's 'Annapurna' an unsettling, witty story of love and death


    In the opening scene of Annapurna, when Emma turns up to visit her ex-husband after 20 years, we can tell he's not expecting her. Ulysses' outfit consists of a backpack oxygen tank, a pair of duct-tape slippers and an apron. Period.

    Emma gets a full-moon view (as does the audience). When she implores him to put on some pants, he just growls, "You're lucky you caught me frying sausage." He's learned the hard way, he says, about hot grease....

    Angela Bond, left, plays Emma and Paul Potenza is Ulysses, a once-married couple who meet again after 20 years,  in Jobsite Theater’s production of Annapurna, written by Sharr White.
  14. Review: Kate Atkinson's 'A God in Ruins' an enthralling read


    English writer Kate Atkinson's 2013 book Life After Life is one of the most dazzling novels I've read in the last decade, a virtuoso performance on every level — plot, character, language, structure and more.

    Her new novel, A God in Ruins, is not exactly a sequel to Life After Life; she calls it a "companion piece" in her excellent author's note. But whatever you call the book, it's another rich and enthralling read....

  15. Notable: celebrity moms



    Celebrity moms

    Shopping for a Mother's Day gift? Here are two memoirs and a biography Mom might enjoy.

    Born With Teeth (Little, Brown) by Kate Mulgrew, Orange Is the New Black's Red and Star Trek: Voyager's Captain Janeway, is the actor's engaging account of her career success, the pain of giving up a daughter for adoption — and the joy of finding her 20 years later. ...