BOSTON (AP) _ Susan Cheever, who wrote a bittersweet memoir of her famous father, author John Cheever, in ''Home Before Dark,'' has been named winner of the 1985 L.L. Winship Book Award.

The award, presented by The Boston Globe to honor the late Laurence Leathe Winship, editor of the newspaper from 1955-1965, is given annually to the author of the best new book having some relation to New England.

Drawing on her father's unpublished journals and letters, Ms. Cheever wrote about his upbringing on Boston's South Shore, his literary success and failure, his years as a family man and his 20-year battle with alcoholism.

Ms. Cheever, a New York native, graduated from Brown University in 1965. Since then, she has taught school, worked as a journalist and written three novels, ''Looking for Work,'' ''A Handsome Man,'' and ''The Cage.''

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