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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: Randy Wayne White has three local signings


    Book Talk

    Bestselling Florida author Randy Wayne White (Mangrove Lightning) will discuss and sign his latest Doc Ford thriller at noon March 26 at Bookstore1Sarasota, 12 S Palm Ave., Sarasota; at 7 p.m. March 26, presented by Inkwood Books, at Four Green Fields, 205 W Platt St., Tampa; and at 1 p.m. April 1 at Haslam's Book Store, 2025 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

    Photographer Chris Buck (Uneasy: Portraits 1986-2016) will discuss and sign his book at 11 a.m. March 26 at Oxford Exchange, 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa....

  2. Notable: Literary magic



    Literary magic

    Need a touch of magic in your life? These three books offer some.

    The Book of Magic: From Antiquity to the Enlightenment (Penguin Classics), edited by Brian Copenhaver, is a rich anthology of works that treated magic seriously as an influential part of Western culture, from the Bible to Paradise Lost and beyond.

    The Fifth Petal (Crown) by Brunonia Barry is a novel of supernatural mystery set in contemporary Salem, Mass., where a teenager dies suspiciously on Halloween and the town's magical history shadows it; a sequel to The Lace Reader....

  3. Book award winners speak out at National Book Critics Circle ceremony


    When the great Canadian writer Margaret Atwood took the stage in New York City on March 16 to accept a lifetime achievement award from the National Book Critics Circle, she opened with a mordant joke: She was just glad that she'd been allowed across the border.

    "I was asking someone, should I leave my phone and computer at home? And they said, 'It depends on how many books you want to sell. If you get arrested, it will be a big news story.' "...

    Author Margaret Atwood received the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award at the National Book Critics Circle awards ceremony in New York on March 16.
  4. Wine of the week: Stave & Steel Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles 2015

    Bars & Spirits

    Given the resurgent popularity of bourbon in craft cocktails, it's a wonder no one thought of this sooner. But the people at Stave & Steel did, and the result is their Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles 2015, widely available at about $15 a bottle.

    The wine's 100 percent cabernet sauvignon grapes are aged for four months in American oak bourbon barrels that have been toasted and charred to enhance the flavor of the liquor....

  5. National Book Critics Circle awards go to Margaret Atwood, Louise Erdrich and more


    NEW YORK — The National Book Critics Circle presented its annual awards at a ceremony here Thursday night.

    Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood, whose works include The Handmaid's Tale, received the Ivan Sandrof Award for lifetime achievement.

    The six book award winners were:

    Autobiography: Hope Jahren, Lab Girl.

    Biography: Ruth Franklin, Shirley Jackson: A Rather Haunted Life....

     (AFP/Getty Images [2009])
  6. Events: Jack Davis, Lee Irby to speak at USF St. Petersburg


    Book Talk

    Philip Beard (Swing) will discuss and sign his novel about baseball at 11 a.m. March 21 at Bookstore1Sarasota, 12 S Palm Ave., Sarasota.

    University of Florida history professor Jack E. Davis (The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea) and Eckerd College history professor Lee Irby (Unreliable) will discuss their books at 6 p.m. March 22 at Harbor Hall, University of South Florida St. Petersburg, 1000 Third St. S....

  7. Notable: Feminism in the future



    Feminism in the future

    In Women's History Month, here are three books about how feminism might look moving forward.

    Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions (Knopf) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is a refreshingly straightforward series of short essays from the award-winning novelist (Americanah) to a friend looking for advice about raising a daughter....

  8. Review: Doc Ford squares off with the living and the dead in White's 'Mangrove Lightning'


    One of the many pleasures of Randy Wayne White's series about Doc Ford is the interplay between the minds of Ford and his best friend, Tomlinson.

    Ford, a marine biologist and freelance black ops specialist, is a scientist and rationalist. Tomlinson, a Zen Buddhist master and boat bum with undetermined sources of income and a past almost as enigmatic as Ford's, is a mystic whose interest in other realms is magnified by his adventurous drug use....

    Author Randy Wayne White
  9. Events: Jack Davis to discuss, sign 'The Gulf' at Oxford Exchange


    Book Talk

    University of Florida professor Jack E. Davis (The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea) will discuss and sign his book at 1:30 p.m. March 12 at the Oxford Exchange, 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

    Artist and writer Julie Zickefoose (Baby Birds: An Artist Looks Into the Nest) will discuss and sign her book at 6 p.m. March 14 at Bookstore1Sarasota, 12 S Palm Ave., Sarasota....

  10. Review: Kealing's 'Elvis Ignited' captures a legend's beginnings in Florida


    Elvis Presley died almost 40 years ago, but he comes back to life in the pages of Bob Kealing's Elvis Ignited.

    This isn't Fat Elvis or even Thin Elvis. It isn't Elvis in a spangly white jumpsuit singing bland pop, or Elvis in forgettable movies, or Elvis in a long fog of drug abuse. This is the Elvis that created the legend: young, beautiful, raw and revolutionary, a shot of pure energy into mid-century America....

    Anne Rowe, a reporter for the then-St. Petersburg Times, gets a hug and kiss from Elvis Presley as she interviews him before his show at Tampa’s Fort Homer Hesterly Armory in August 1956.
  11. Wine of the week: Corvidae Wiseguy 2015 Sauvignon Blanc

    Bars & Spirits

    In some places, folks are still wondering if winter is over. Here in Florida, we've hopscotched right into summer.

    That calls for a refreshing white wine, and I found one. Corvidae Wiseguy 2015 Sauvignon Blanc, available at wine shops for about $14, is a mouthful of sunshine.

    Corvidae wines are an offshoot of Owen Roe Winery, which has vineyards in Oregon and Washington. The Corvidae line takes its name from the family of birds that includes crows, ravens and magpies — all exceptionally smart, resourceful and playful, and frequently found around Pacific Northwest vineyards....

  12. Review: Jack E. Davis' 'The Gulf' is an enthralling history of the Gulf of Mexico


    Most of us who live around the Gulf of Mexico take it for granted.

    If we ask questions about it, they're quotidian: Are the fish biting? Is the water warm enough to take the kids swimming? Do I smell another Red Tide?

    Occasionally, they're life or death: Will that hurricane come my way?

    Jack E. Davis, it seems, had as many questions about the gulf as there are sand grains on a beach (mostly quartz, washed down over millions of years from faraway mountaintops, plus finely ground shell) or feathers on a snowy egret (one of many bird species nearly wiped out by the plume hunters of a century ago, now happily recovered). He has answered a tide of those questions in his splendid new book, The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea....

  13. Events: Carl Hiaasen speaks at the Straz on Sunday


    Book Talk

    Tampa Bay Times staff writer Ben Montgomery (The Leper Spy) will discuss and sign his nonfiction book about a Filipina woman's life during and after World War II at 3 p.m. March 5 at the Jan Kaminis Platt Regional Library, 3910 S Manhattan Ave., Tampa.

    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 $35 to $55 at

  14. 11 Florida-themed books coming this spring


    Florida is having a moment as a writers' muse. • The Sunshine State's sketchy side has long been an inspiration for crime novelists, but this spring all sorts of writers are publishing books with Florida connections. • One magnificent example is Jack E. Davis' The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea. (See review, Page 2.) • Coming up in the next three months are these 11 books, which are by Florida writers, about Florida or both. Many will be reviewed in these pages....

  15. 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?”