Winston Groom, born March 23, 1944, is an American novelist and nonfiction writer. Raised in Mobile, Alabama, he has written more than a dozen books, among them the bestselling Forrest Gump (1986), Gumpisms : The Wit and Wisdom of Forrest Gump (1994), and GUMP & CO. (1995).
Groom attended the University of Alabama, graduating in 1965. Though family expectations slated him for a career in law, his experience editing a literary magazine in college inspired him to pursue a career in writing instead. His literary ambitions were thwarted, however, when he was drafted to serve in the Vietnam War soon after graduating from college. Groom spent two years in military service, from 1965 to 1967, during which time he rose to the rank of captain. He would later draw on that experience in writing his first two novels, Better Times Than These (1978) and As Summers Die (1980).
After returning from the war, he began work as a journalist for the Washington Star in 1967. During his tenure, he reported on police and courtroom matters. In 1976, he left the newspaper to dedicate his time to writing his first novel, Better Times Than These. His second novel, As Summers Die, won awards and recognition, as did Shrouds of Glory: From Atlanta to Nashville : The Last Great Campaign of the Civil War (1995) and Conversations With the Enemy: The Story of Pfc Robert Garwood (1982), which he co-authored with Duncan Spencer. In 1980, he received the Best Fiction Award from the Southern Library Association. Conversations With the Enemy was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 1983.
He returned to Alabama in 1985, where he wrote Forrest Gump. Though the novel had respectable sales, it was not an immediate bestseller. Recognition and sales for the novel increased after Forrest Gump was made into a movie (1994) that became one of America’s most popular and financially successful films. The novel sold 1.7 million copies after being re-released. Groom has since written a sequel, Gump & Co.
Groom now lives in Point Clear, on the eastern shore of Mobile Bay, with his wife, Anne-Clinton, and daughter, Carolina.