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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. Events: Tampa historians to sign books at hurricane relief benefit


    Book Talk

    Nancy Christie (Rut-Busting Book for Writers) will sign her book at 11 a.m. Nov. 20 at 321 Books, 6901 22nd Ave. N, St. Petersburg.

    John Cinchett (Vintage Tampa Storefronts and Scenes), Rex Gordon (History of Hillsborough High School), Linda Hope (A Sulphur Springs History), Josh McMorrow-Hernandez (Tampa's Carrollwood) and Michael Wigh (Brandon Florida Images in Time) will sell and sign their books, with proceeds benefiting hurricane relief in Florida and Puerto Rico, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 25 at Book Swap of Carrollwood, 11738 N Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa....

  2. Review: George Saunders' 'Sea Oak' makes a dead-funny TV comedy


    Recently, George Saunders won the Man Booker Prize, one of the world's most prestigious literary awards.

    And now he has a TV show about zombies!

    Saunders, one of America's best writers of fiction, won the 2017 Booker for his splendid novel Lincoln in the Bardo, which is narrated largely by a chorus of ghosts.

    That wasn't the first time he has explored what might lie beyond the veil in his fiction. In 1998, the New Yorker published a Saunders short story, Sea Oak, about post-death dissatisfaction....

    George Saunders is writing the Amazon TV show and serving as an executive producer.
  3. Jennifer Egan on how 9/11 led her to WWII and 'Manhattan Beach'


    Jennifer Egan has a gift for surprising readers — and herself.

    "If I knew what would happen in a book," she says, "I wouldn't want to write it."

    What happens in her new novel, Manhattan Beach, is a surprise on many levels. It's an enthralling story about a young woman, Anna Kerrigan, working in the Brooklyn Navy Yard during World War II, whose life takes many unexpected turns....

    Longtime New York resident Jennifer Egan’s Manhattan Beach is set in part at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, pictured in the background.
  4. Events: Ben Montgomery to speak at Mirror Lake Library


    Book Talk

    Friends of the Mirror Lake Library presents former Tampa Bay Times writer Ben Montgomery (The Leper Spy) discussing and signing his book at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at the library, 280 Fifth St. N, St. Petersburg.

    Seminole Historical Society and Museum presents Andrew Carroll (The War Letters Project) discussing and signing his book at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 at the museum, Seminole City Park, 7464 Ridge Road, Seminole. ...

  5. Tamara Lush talks about publishing romance novels serially, like 'Constant Craving'


    Tamara Lush calls her romance novels, published via app in weekly installments, "snack size reading" for your smartphone. Seung Yoon Lee, founder and CEO of Radish Fiction, calls his mobile platform for books like hers "Candy Crush meets serial fiction."

    Lush and Lee will appear at the Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading on Saturday to talk about this new paradigm in publishing.

    Lush's new novel, Constant Craving, is different from many romances in that it's set in the world of journalism. The female narrator owns a struggling newspaper, and, despite their difficult past, an ex-love offers to save it financially. "That's the most fantastical part," the author says with a laugh....

    Author Tamara Lush
  6. Review: 'The Year of Magical Thinking' at Stageworks


    At the beginning of The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion acknowledges that the audience might not want to hear her story because we don't think it could happen to us.

    "It will happen to you," Didion says with a rueful smile, and of course she's right.

    That's Didion the character, movingly played by Vickie Daignault in Stageworks' production of the play, written by the real Joan Didion, acclaimed novelist and journalist, and based on her bestselling 2005 memoir of the same title....

    Stageworks Theatre’s stage version of The Year of Magical Thinking stars Vickie Daignault as Joan Didion.
Courtesy of Stageworks
  7. Review: Andy Boyle's 'Adulthood for Beginners' offers funny, laid-back advice


    Bro, Andy Boyle wants to help you. Boyle's book, Adulthood for Beginners: All the Life Secrets Nobody Bothered to Tell You, is notably laid back for a self-help book. It's less like a hyper, rah-rah life coach and more like a pal offering you a few quiet tips over pizza — which probably makes it more likely to appeal to its target demo, twentysomethings still unsure about just how to be a grownup. ...

    Andy Boyle, author of Adulthood for Beginners, became wildly popular online after writing a blog detailing how he gave up alcohol for two years. But the book isn’t all anti-alcohol, he humorously writes about job hunting, dating and gender identity.
Photo by Mandy Dempsey
  8. 'The Gulf' by UF professor Jack Davis wins $50,000 Kirkus Prize


    Jack E. Davis says that he wrote his book The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea for "the wider range of readers."

    "I wanted people to see (the Gulf of Mexico) for all that it is," Davis says. "It's not just an oil sump or a sunning beach or a hurricane alley. I wanted to write about its historical significance within the larger American narrative."

    The book is likely to reach a very wide range: On Thursday night, it won the 2017 Kirkus Prize for nonfiction, a major literary award that brings winners $50,000. (For other winners, go to

     University of Florida professor Jack E. Davis is the author of "The Gulf: The Making of An American Sea." (Photo by Ed White)
  9. Perspective: National Book Award winner says it's self-interest that leads to racist policies, and then racism


    Ibram X. Kendi was not surprised to see Donald Trump elected president.

    Unlike many Americans of every political position, Kendi saw the 2016 election not as a shock but as a swing of a historical pendulum he has spent years studying and writing about.

    Kendi, 35, won the 2016 National Book Award for nonfiction for his bestselling book Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. It's a bold title, and a bold book: an unstinting, deeply researched, beautifully written study of how racist thought and action permeate our culture and history....

    National Book Award winner Ibram Kendi is a scholar of U.S. racism.
  10. Florida poet laureate Peter Meinke's columns are prose to savor


    If you think of poets as head-in-the-clouds types, unconcerned with the hurly-burly of real life, Peter Meinke will change your mind.

    Meinke, Florida's poet laureate, often celebrates the quotidian in his poetry, and does so in prose in his latest book, To Start With, Feel Fortunate.

    The book is a collection of some of the columns he has written over the past five years for Creative Loafing, an alternative weekly published in Tampa....

  11. Laura Lee Smith's 'The Ice House' shields disaster, conflict with humor, warmth


    Johnny MacKinnon already has too much on his plate.

    The icemaking plant he and his wife, Pauline, own and operate is being investigated after the rupture of an ammonia tank. Johnny's grown son, Corran, is struggling with heroin addiction, and Johnny's long marriage, though solid, is showing a few frays. It's no wonder the MacKinnons' dog, an elderly dachshund named General San Jose, seems worried all the time....

    Bahia Honda State Park. Big Pine Key, FL, USA.
  12. Andersen to screen 'Snowbird,' documentary in progress about Kerouac in Florida


    Beat writer Jack Kerouac made his name, and his mark on American literature, with On the Road, a 1957 novel that sings the praises of life on the highway.

    Kerouac came to the end of the road in St. Petersburg, moving here in 1964 and dying of liver cirrhosis in 1969.

    His years in Florida are the subject of a documentary in progress by filmmaker Kristy Andersen. A longtime Tampa Bay area resident, Andersen has made a number of documentaries, including Zora Neale Hurston: Jump at the Sun, a feature-length biography of the Florida-raised writer that was broadcast as part of the PBS American Masters series....

    Filmmaker Kristy Andersen
  13. 'It's My Country Too' a salute to women in the U.S. military


    Jerri Bell and Tracy Crow knew their own stories as women who had served in the military. Bell, a retired naval officer, and Crow, a former Marine Corps officer, had 30 years of military experience between them.

    But, as they write in the preface to their book It's My Country Too, "In the process of writing this book, we discovered to our chagrin that we had served our country without knowing our own history. We didn't know whose shoulders we were standing on. ..."...

  14. VanderMeer and Pittman: Whose Florida is weirder?


    You think Florida is weird? Let Jeff VanderMeer and Craig Pittman tell you about it.

    VanderMeer, a bestselling author in a genre-crunching field called New Weird literature, lives in Tallahassee. His most recent novel, Borne, is set in a nameless city in a dystopian future. His Southern Reach trilogy — the first novel, Annihilation, comes to movie screens in 2018 — is set in a strange and hostile landscape not unlike the wilderness parts of the Panhandle....

  15. For Kate DiCamillo, connection is the story


    With a couple of Newbery Medals under her belt and legions of enthusiastic fans, Kate DiCamillo should feel pretty secure about her books, right?

    "I can never tell if anything I do is really good," the author says. "I'm always just slightly chagrined."

    Countless kids who have devoured Because of Winn-Dixie, The Tale of Despereaux, Flora & Ulysses and more of DiCamillo's books know they're really good. It's a safe bet that hundreds of those kids will be in the audience when she talks about her new book, La La La, at the Times Festival of Reading....

    An illustration from the picture book "La La La" by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Jaime Kim