Wakefield has been the recipient of a Neiman Fellowship in Journalism, the Bernard DeVoto Fellowship to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, a Rockefeller Grant for Creative Writing, and an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. He has taught in the writing programs at Boston University, the University of Massachusetts at Boston, Emerson College, The Iowa Writers Workshop, and is presently Writer in Residence at Florida International University in Miami.
Born in Indianapolis, Indiana, Wakefield began his writing career as a columnist of his high school newspaper, The Shortridge Daily Echo. He also served as sports correspondent for The Indianapolis Star. After graduating from Columbia College in New York City in 1955, he wrote for many national magazines, including The New York Times Magazine, Harpers, and The Atlantic Monthly. He has written many books, including "Island in the City: The World of Spanish Harlem"; "All Her Children: The Making of a Soap Opera"; "Supernation at Peace and War," which first appeared as the entire issue of the March 1968 Atlantic Monthly; "Expect a Miracle : The Miraculous Things That Happen to Ordinary People"; "Returning : A Spiritual Journey"; and his most recent, "Releasing the Creative Spirit (Skylight Paths)."