Novelist, journalist, and poet Pete Dexter was born in Pontiac, Michigan, in 1943. As a student at the University of South Dakota, where he attended on and off for ten years, he wrote poetry and won a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. After graduating in 1970, he found work as a newspaper reporter. While working as a columnist for the Philadelphia Daily News, Dexter was nearly beaten to death by readers who disapproved of a piece he wrote about a drug-related murder. That experience helped propel him into fiction writing, and in 1984, he published God's Pocket. Dexter won a National Book Award in 1988 for his novel Paris Trout, a book that exemplifies his characteristic blending of humor and violence. As a journalist, his work has also appeared in such periodicals as Esquire and Playboy. Paper Trails, published in 2007, is a compilation of columns he wrote for the Philadelphia Daily News and The Sacramento Bee from the 1970s to the 1990s. He also wrote the novel Spooner in 2009.