Winston Groom

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Winston Groom
BornWinston Francis Groom Jr.
(1943-03-23) March 23, 1943 (age 77)
Washington, D.C., U.S.
EducationUMS-Wright Preparatory School
Alma materUniversity of Alabama

Winston Francis Groom Jr. (born March 23, 1943)[1][2] is an American novelist and non-fiction writer. He is known for writing Forrest Gump, which was adapted into the 1994 film Forrest Gump directed by Robert Zemeckis. The film was considered a cultural phenomenon and won six Academy Awards. He published a sequel, Gump and Co., in 1995. He has also written numerous non-fiction works, on diverse subjects including the American Civil War and World War I.

Early life[edit]

Groom was born in Washington, D.C., and was raised in Mobile County, Alabama, where he attended University Military School (now known as UMS-Wright Preparatory School).[3] Groom's earliest ambition was to become a lawyer like his father; but, instead, while a literary editor in college, he chose to become a writer. Groom attended the University of Alabama, where he was a member of Delta Tau Delta fraternity[3] and the Army ROTC, graduating in 1965.[3]

He served in the Army from 1965 to 1967, including a tour of duty in the Vietnam War (from 66-67). Most of his Army service was with the Fourth Infantry Division.[3]


Upon his return from Vietnam, Groom worked as a reporter for the Washington Star, a Washington, D. C. newspaper covering the justice department and federal court system. Groom resigned to pursue a career in writing novels. Groom's first novel was Better Times Than These which was published in 1978.[4] Better Times Than These was about a rifle company in the Vietnam War whose lives and patriotism both are shattered.

His next novel As Summers Die (1980) received better recognition. His book Conversations with the Enemy (1982) follows an American Vietnam War soldier who escapes from a POW camp and takes a plane back to the United States only to be arrested fourteen years later for desertion. Conversations with the Enemy was a Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction finalist in 1984.[5]

In 1985, Groom moved back to Mobile, Alabama, where he began to work on the novel Forrest Gump. Forrest Gump was published in 1986; however, it did not make Groom a best-selling author until it was adapted into a film with the same name in 1994, a film starring Tom Hanks in the title role of Forrest Gump. The film propelled the novel to best-seller status, and the novel sold 1.7 million copies worldwide. However, Paramount Pictures utilized Hollywood accounting to deflate profitability numbers of the film and Groom received no payment for his 3% profit share on the film.

In November 2011, Groom introduced his latest history book, Kearny's March: The Epic Creation of the American West, 1846–1847. Groom describes how Brigadier General Stephen W. Kearny's quest for westward adventure coincides with the expansionist desires of the U.S. President, James K. Polk. Anchored in mid-summer 1846, the context for both the adventures and expansionism is the Texas Annexation, the Mexican–American War, and the backdrop to the American Civil War. Just as in the film adaptation of Groom's book Forrest Gump, where Gump is introduced through the technology of production company Industrial Light & Magic to a cast of celebrities including a young Elvis Presley, President John F. Kennedy, and President Richard Nixon, Groom weaves into Kearny's March mountain man Kit Carson, Brigham Young and his Mormon followers, and members of the Donner party.

In 2016, El Paso, Groom's first novel in nearly 20 years, was published.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Groom has lived most recently in Point Clear, Alabama, with his wife Susan.[3]



  • Better Times Than These (1978); Better Times Than These. Simon and Schuster. 1 December 1994. ISBN 978-0-671-52266-7.
  • As Summers Die (1980)
  • Only. Simon and Schuster. 1984. ISBN 978-0-671-52267-4.
  • Forrest Gump (1986); Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2012, ISBN 9780307947406
  • Gone the Sun (1988); 1996, ISBN 9780671535162
  • Gump and Co. (1995) ISBN 0671521705 OCLC 32988843
  • Such a Pretty, Pretty Girl (1998) ISBN 0375501614
  • El Paso (2016) ISBN 978-1631492242


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Blount, Serena (March 25, 2010). "Winston Groom". Encyclopedia of Alabama. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  2. ^ "2009 College of Communication and Information Sciences Hall of Fame Inductees: Winston F. Groom, Jr". UA News. University of Alabama. September 23, 2009. Archived from the original on June 11, 2010. Retrieved June 10, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Winston Groom". Encyclopedia of Alabama.
  4. ^ Grimes, William (September 1, 1994). "Following the Star Of a Winsome Idiot". New York Times. Retrieved June 8, 2015.
  5. ^ "1984 Finalists". The Pulitzer Prizes. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  6. ^ Why it took 'Forrest Gump' author nearly 20 years to write a new novel, Tom Vitale, MPR News

External links[edit]