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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. Poet David Kirby receives Florida Humanities Council's lifetime achievement in writing award


    Lifetime achievement awards, David Kirby says, are usually handed out by organizations like the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. "So I see this as the equivalent of the Oscar."

    "This" is the news that Kirby, a talented and prolific poet and essayist and the Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of English at Florida State University, has been named the seventh recipient of the Florida Humanities Council's Florida Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing. An independent panel of five judges (of which I was one) selected him from a field of 19 nominees, calling him "one of Florida's literary treasures."...

     Poet, critic and Florida State University professor David Kirby is the 2016 recipient of the Florida Lifetime Achievement in Writing Award. Photo courtesy of Louisiana State University Press.
  2. Review: Rankin's Rebus in fine form in 'Even Dogs in the Wild'


    There's one striking detail in Scottish writer Ian Rankin's new novel, Even Dogs in the Wild, that sharply reminds us the story is not set in the United States. After someone shoots the son of a crime boss in Edinburgh, a city of about half a million people, one of the investigators suggests it's a copycat of an earlier shooting. His Police Scotland colleague is incredulous:

    " 'Meaning what?' Fox enquired. 'Another gunman? That hardly sounds likely. How many nine-millimetre pistols are being lugged around the city?' "...

  3. Events: The Rev. Kenny Irby to discuss Coates' 'Between the World and Me.'


    Book Talk

    Cathedral Church of St. Peter's book talk series presents the Rev. Kenny Irby of Bethel AME Church discussing Ta-Nehisi Coates' memoir Between the World and Me, winner of the National Book Award, at noon Tuesday at the cathedral, 140 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. Free; lunch available, $5.

    Poynter Institute senior scholar Roy Peter Clark (The Art of X-Ray Reading: How the Secrets of 25 Great Works of Literature Will Improve Your Writing) will discuss and sign his book at 10 a.m. Saturday at the St. Petersburg Main Library, 3745 9th Ave N....

  4. Oh, Barbie: Your changing body still keeps adults talking


    Barbie finally ate a sandwich!

    After more than half a century of boasting a waistline that in real life would measure about 18 inches, the Barbie doll will now be available in a "curvy" version, Mattel Inc. announced Thursday, along with "tall" and "petite" models as well as "original Barbie."

    As she has many times before, Barbie is adapting to changing times. The doll has been a target of controversy from the beginning: I was 6 when Barbie debuted, and I can recall our parish priest earnestly admonishing parents not to buy the sexy dolls for us, pretty much deeming them the spawn of Satan....

    Mattel, the maker of the famous plastic doll, said it will start selling Barbie's in three new body types: tall, curvy and petite. She'll also come in seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles. [Mattel via AP]
  5. Notable: This is your brain in books



    This is your brain in books

    These books take on the always interesting question of the brain trying to understand itself.

    The Brain's Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries From the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity (Penguin) by Norman Doidge, a psychiatrist, looks at how the brain can change its own structure and function to respond to autism, strokes, chronic pain, Alzheimer's and more. ...

  6. Review: Berne's 'Dogs of Littlefield' has plenty of bite


    Suzanne Berne's The Dogs of Littlefield is a crisp, entertaining, darkish comedy of manners that might leave you doubting every "best-of" list you've ever read.

    The book's fictional setting, a small town in Massachusetts, has placed sixth on a Wall Street Journal list of "Twenty Best Places to Live in America."

    What makes Littlefield great? "Leafy streets, old Victorian houses, fine public schools and a small university. ... home to roughly one percent of the nation's psychotherapists."...

  7. Events: Tim Dorsey to sign 'Coconut Cowboy' in Largo, Clearwater


    Book Talk

    Tampa author Tim Dorsey (Coconut Cowboy) will discuss and sign his new book at 1 p.m. Jan. 31 at Book Bank, 13002 Seminole Blvd., No. 8 (Piccadilly Square), Largo; and at 3 p.m. Jan. 31 at Countryside Library, 2642 Sabal Springs Drive, Clearwater.

    The Tampa Bay History Center presents Richard Brown and Paul Cohen (Revolution: Mapping the Road to Independence) discussing their book about maps and the American Revolution at 6 p.m. Feb. 2 at the center, 801 Old Water St., Tampa....

  8. PEN America honors J.K. Rowling with free speech award


    Forget it, Death Eaters. Don't try any silencing charms on J.K. Rowling.

    The hugely bestselling author of the Harry Potter books, a longtime advocate against censorship and crusader for other worthy causes, has been named one of this year's recipients of the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award.

    In a statement to the Associated Press, Rowling said, "I'm deeply honored to receive this award and humbled that my work has been recognized as having moral value by an organization I so admire. I've long been a supporter of PEN, which does invaluable work on behalf of imprisoned writers and in defense of freedom of speech."...

    Author J.K. Rowling will receive the PEN/Allen Foundation Literary Service Award.
  9. Dennis Lehane drops into St. Petersburg for a riveting reading


    Dennis Lehane is a guy who can laugh at himself.

    The bestselling author (Mystic River, Shutter Island, World Gone By) and screenwriter (The Wire, Boardwalk Empire) was at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg on Saturday to appear in the final night of the reading series presented by Writers in Paradise. The 12th annual writers conference is, Lehane said, his "baby" -- an Eckerd alum, he co-founded Writers in Paradise with now-retired writing program director Sterling Watson....

    Dennis Lehane read from his novel in progress Saturday night at the Writers in Paradise reading series.
  10. Review: 'Easy Rider' gets a Florida spin in Dorsey's 'Coconut Cowboy'


    Road trip!

    That could be the motto for all of Tampa author Tim Dorsey's wacky novels about Serge Storms, devoted Floridaphile and fantasy-fulfilling serial killer.

    In Dorsey's latest, Coconut Cowboy (which takes its title from a nostalgic detail of Serge's childhood), Serge finds inspiration for his own road trip in search of the American Dream in one of the most iconic road trips in film history: Easy Rider....

  11. Notable: Long live the queens



    Long live the queens

    Three new books, one fiction and two nonfiction, bow to Britain's royal personages.

    The Lady of Misrule (Pegasus) by Suzannah Dunn is a novel about Lady Jane Grey, grandniece of Henry VIII, who ruled as England's queen for nine days — and was executed for high treason at about age 16.

    Royal Fever: The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture (University of California Press) by Cele C. Otnes and Pauline Maclaran is a fascinating look at the marketing of the royal brand, from Elizabeth II's televised coronation in 1952 to the madness over Princess Diana and the media-friendly charms of baby royals George and Charlotte....

  12. Events: Barry Estabrook to discuss 'Pig Tales'


    Book Talk

    The University of South Florida St. Petersburg's Food for Thought Lecture Series presents bestselling author Barry Estabrook (Pig Tales: An Omnivore's Guide to Sustainable Meat) at 7 p.m. Monday at the University Student Center, Sixth Avenue at Second Street S. The event is free, but reservations are required; go to

    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....

  13. Stephen King and John Grisham tell their stories on stage in Bradenton


    BRADENTON — When bestselling and beloved authors John Grisham and Stephen King sat down together on stage Tuesday night to talk about the writing life, King kicked it off by asking Grisham, "What is the question you get asked the most, so I don't ask it?"

    They agreed on the question dreaded by successful authors everywhere: "Where do you get your ideas?"

    "I tell them I go to the author idea website," Grisham cracked....

    Stephen King, left, and John Grisham pose with Clearwater author Lisa Unger at a reception Tuesday night before King's and Grisham's event in Bradenton. "I am absolutely thrilled," said Unger, a bestselling mystery writer.
  14. Local author Lori Roy gets her third Edgar nomination; Stephen King gets one, too


    Congratulations to Lori Roy, who is on the list of nominees for the Edgar Awards announced today by the Mystery Writers of America! Roy, who lives in Tierra Verde, has published three novels -- and scored three Edgar nominations. Her first book, Bent Road, won the best first novel Edgar. Her second, Until She Comes Home, was nominated for best novel. And her latest, Let Me Die in His Footsteps, a riveting gothic mystery set in small-town Kentucky in the 1930s and 1950s, is nominated this year for best novel. (Read my review here.)...

  15. National Book Critics Circle names Wendell Berry for lifetime achievement, finalists for other awards


    The National Book Critics Circle has named Wendell Berry the recipient of its 2016 Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award.

    Berry, 81, is an influential essayist, novelist and poet known for his environmental and social activism. The fifth-generation Kentucky native, who has lived on a 125-acre farm near Port Royal, Ky., since 1965, has published more than 40 books, including novels, short stories, poetry and essay collections. ...

    Wendell Berry has written dozens of novels and collections of short stories, poetry and essays. 
The 81-year-old has called a 125-acre farm near Port Royal, Ky., home since 1965.