Whenever you spend any time with Colette Bancroft, you learn something new.
This was certainly true with Tuesday’s edition of The Catalyst Sessions, during which the Tampa Bay Times’ longtime Books Editor discussed her early journalism days in Arizona, her move to St. Petersburg and the Times (in 1997) as a features reporter, and her ascension to her present role 10 years later.
Bancroft told us about Tampa Bay Noir, a collection of 15 brand new short stories she’s edited; published Aug. 4, the tome includes dark-themed short stories from the likes of Michael Connelly, Lisa Unger, Tim Dorsey, Danny Lopez and Bancroft herself (the first fiction she’s written, she confessed, in many years.).
And the annual Times Festival of Reading, perhaps the most anticipated literary event in St. Petersburg, will be all virtual this year, in November. Bancroft is only now getting the massive project organized.
Bancroft also talked about the Times’ commitment to its coverage of books and literature, even as its arts coverage, in other areas, has fallen victim to changing times, rising costs and the other perils of today’s uncertain media business.
“I can’t give you the corporate statement of why that’s true – that’s above my pay grade,” she said. “But I think there’s a sense, which I wish more newspapers had, that readers are readers. That people who read books are people who read newspapers, and vice versa, and that’s kind of a core audience.”
She sees her employers’ loyalty to the literary side as “a mark that the paper is striving for cultural significance. And I’m glad, very glad, that the Times still feels that way.”
Today on The Catalyst Sessions: Veronica Leone Matthews, founder of the St. Petersburg Shakespeare Festival.
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