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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. An excerpt from a biography of a friendship


    The Firebrand and the First Lady by historian Patricia Bell-Scott is a sort of biography of a friendship between one of the best-known women of the 20th century, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, and Pauli Murray, a descendant of slaves and civil rights activist whose influence was greater than her low historical profile might suggest — and whose personal story is a fascinating one worthy of attention....

    The Firebrand and the First Lady, Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice
By Patricia Bell-Scott
Vintage, 454 pages, $17
  2. Events: Tampa Jewish Festival of Books begins Oct. 26


    Book Talk

    Mike McIntire (Champions Way: Football, Florida and the Lost Soul of College Sports) will discuss and sign his book about Florida State University football at 11:30 a.m. Oct. 22 at the Oxford Exchange, 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

    Fantasy authors Kevin Hearne (A Plague of Giants) and Delilah Dawson (Star Wars: Phasma) will appear in conversation at 4 p.m. Oct. 22 at Inkwood Books Tampa Heights, 1809 N Tampa St., Tampa. The event is free. To enter the signing line, buy a copy of A Plague of Giants or Star Wars: Phasma from Inkwood....

  3. Michael Connelly's 'Two Kinds of Truth' is Bosch at his best


    Harry Bosch's office is a long way from his former desk in the Los Angeles Police Department's elite robbery-homicide squad.

    Three years after his forced retirement from the LAPD, Bosch is a volunteer detective, working out of a cell in the old San Fernando jail. He says to a visitor, "That was the drunk tank and sometimes I think I can still smell the puke when I open it up in the morning. Supposedly five or six guys hung themselves in there over the years. Supposed to be haunted. But it's where they keep the cold case files, so it's where I do my work."...

  4. Why does Amazon's 'Bosch' feel so much like the books? It's Michael Connelly



    Traffic is roaring along Interstate 5, and beyond it a hot orange sunset burns.

    Just east of the freeway, in the parking lot of the L.A. County Medical Examiner building, Detective Harry Bosch steps out of a car, then does it again, and again, as his creator watches intently.

    "This will be about 10 seconds on screen," author Michael Connelly says of the on-location shoot outside the morgue, which involves two actors, more than 50 crew members and an hour and a half of filming. "We have filmed inside the morgue, too," he says, "but doing it too often gets a little disruptive."...

    Connelly looks at a script on the L.A. set of Bosch. He has been involved every step of the way as an executive producer and writer.
  5. Wine of the week: Clayhouse Adobe Red, Paso Robles 2012

    Bars & Spirits

    Right now it's difficult to even think about California wines without grieving for the tremendous damage done by fires to some of that state's wine-growing regions and the people who live there. Recovery will take a long time, and supporting the industry is one way to help.

    This week's wine, Clayhouse Adobe Red Paso Robles 2012, comes from a central California area that, at this writing, had not been seriously threatened by the fires. Clayhouse's sustainably farmed Red Cedar Vineyards produce the grapes for all of its wines, including this lively, food-friendly blend....

  6. Events: Omar El Akkad to discuss 'American War' at Oxford Exchange


    Book Talk

    Journalist and novelist Omar El Akkad (American War) will discuss and sign his dystopian debut novel at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Oxford Exchange, 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

    Local author John Moreschi (Dream Mechanics: A Practical Guide to Creating Your Reality) will discuss and sign his book at 2 p.m. Oct. 15 at Haslam's Book Store, 2025 Central Ave., St. Petersburg....

  7. Review: Gretchen Carlson stands up to sexual harassment in 'Be Fierce'


    Broadcast journalist Gretchen Carlson could have taken the $20 million she received from her sexual harassment lawsuit against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes and retired to private life in comfort.

    As she writes in her new book, Be Fierce: Stop Harassment and Take Your Power Back, her successful suit against a predator — one that resulted in Ailes being fired — provoked a withering barrage of hatred from internet trolls so vile it almost stopped her in her tracks....

    DELPHINE LEE   |   Special to the Times
  8. Literary prizes note diverse array of fiction


    In a world that seems to be growing more tribal and insular by the day, the fall book award season is taking note of books whose themes run counter to that trend, books that look deeply into the experiences of immigrants and refugees, minorities and other outsiders to power.

    The Oct. 5 announcement that the 2017 Nobel Prize for literature would go to British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro was something of a reset, after a couple of Nobel literature laureates whose bodies of work were well outside the norm: 2016 winner Bob Dylan's writing is mostly song lyrics, while Russian writer Svetlana Alexievich, who won in 2015, writes books that walk what is, by her own description, a very tenuous and controversial line between fact and fiction....

    Kazuo Ishiguro, the 2017 Nobel Prize winner for literature, smiles during a news conference at his home in London the day the award was announced. Ishiguro, best known for “The Remains of the Day,” was born in Nagasaki, Japan, and emigrated with his family to England at age 5.
  9. Book events: Bhu Srinivasan to discuss 'Americana' at Oxford Exchange


    Book Talk

    The Oxford Exchange's Spotlight Series presents Bhu Srinivasan (Americana: A 400-Year History of American Capitalism) discussing and signing his new book at 1:30 p.m. Oct. 8 at the Oxford Exchange, 420 W Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

    The Cathedral Church of St. Peter's author series presents Tampa Bay Times reporter Ben Montgomery speaking about his book The Leper Spy: The Story of an Unlikely Hero of World War II at noon Oct. 10 at the church, 140 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. Free; lunch available ($5)....

  10. Review: Jeffery Hess' 'Cold War Canoe Club' offers a look at Navy life at sea and on shore


    Cold War Canoe Club, the new short story collection by Florida writer Jeffery Hess, takes readers beyond stereotypes and recruiting videos to reveal a sometimes thrilling, sometimes funny, sometimes disturbing picture of life in the U.S. Navy.

    Hess draws on his own experience for that realism. He served in the Navy for six years, on its oldest and newest ships, traveling around the world. He now lives in Florida and leads the DD-214 Writers' Workshops for military veterans. He has also edited several anthologies of writing by vets....

    Jeffery Hess
  11. Sherlock Holmes goes to prep school in Ridley Pearson's 'Lock and Key: The Downward Spiral'


    Proving once again his amazing adaptability as a character, Sherlock Holmes is the star of Ridley Pearson's Lock and Key series for middle grade (and, of course, elementary) readers.

    Lock and Key: The Downward Spiral is the second book in the series, following The Initiation. Young readers might already be familiar with Pearson's books — he's the author of the bestselling Kingdom Keepers series and many other books for kids (as well as a couple of dozen crime thrillers for adults). He also co-wrote the Starcatchers series with Dave Barry; the first of those, Peter and the Starcatchers, became a hit Broadway play....

  12. Prolific author and trailblazing Florida journalist Kit Reed dies


    Kit Reed wrote her first novel when she was around 5 years old, dictating a tale about a rabbit to her mother and making corrections when her mom read it back to her.

    It was the beginning of a writing career that would span more than six decades and produce more than two dozen novels and even more short stories, most of them speculative fiction and all filled with her darkly satirical wit. Her career also included a stint in the 1950s as the only female news reporter at the then-St. Petersburg Times....

    Kit Reed, Times files.
  13. Author Lisa Unger gives mystery fans motive for helping hurricane victims


    Bestselling thriller author Lisa Unger lives in Pinellas County and shared the fears of Tampa Bay residents as Hurricane Irma threatened devastation.

    "My family and I evacuated, we were without power for a few days, but otherwise very lucky," Unger writes in a news release. "Knowing that others were not so fortunate, I started thinking about what I might do to help."

    Reaching out to fellow writers, she came up with something that will thrill mystery fans: a collection of 14 new, signed hardcover books by some of the top crime fiction writers in the world....

    Donate to help hurricane victims and you might win signed copies of these 14 mystery bestsellers.
  14. Book events: John Prevas to sign 'Hannibal's Oath' in St. Petersburg


    Book Talk

    John Prevas (Hannibal's Oath: Life and Wars of Rome's Greatest Enemy) will discuss and sign his biography at 2 p.m. Oct. 1 at Haslam's Book Store, 2025 Central Ave., St. Petersburg.

    Applications are available at for vendors and volunteers for the 2017 Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading, which is Nov. 11 at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg....

  15. Notable: Nailed it



    Nailed it

    Here are three of the many books marking the 500th anniversary this month of Martin Luther's 95 Theses.

    Martin Luther: The Man Who Rediscovered God and Changed the World (Viking) by Eric Metaxas is a deeply researched and surprising biography of the young monk who sparked the Protestant Reformation and helped to shape the modern world. ...