Pete Dexter was the surprise winner this week of the 1988 National Book Award for Fiction, and journalist Neil Sheehan took the non-fiction award.
Dexter's novel, "Paris Trout," told the story of a 14-year-old black girl murdered by a white man."I really was surprised and shocked to be nominated," said Dexter, a Sacramento Bee newspaper columnist who has written two other novels. He said a shooting incident in the Georgia town where he grew up inspired him.
Non-fiction award winner Neil Sheehan worked over a 16-year period on "A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam."