A native of Columbus, Ohio, Wil Haygood began his writing career at the Columbus Call & Post. He has been a Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow. He has worked for both the Boston Globe - where, as a foreign correspondent he was taken hostage by Somali rebels - and the Washington Post.
The movie, "Lee Daniels' The Butler," adapted from a story by Haygood in the Washington Post, premiered in August 2013. It starred Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Vanessa Redgrave, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Mariah Carey, and David Oyelowo. Haygood served as an associate producer. That same summer Haygood's book, "The Butler: A Witness to History," landed on the New York Times Bestseller list.
Haygood is the author of several books that have been widely acclaimed. His "King of the Cats: the Life and Times of Adam Clayton Powell Jr.," was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. That was followed by his autobiography, "The Haygoods of Columbus: A Family Memoir," which was awarded the Great Lakes Book Award and the Ohioana Library Award. His "In Black and White: the Life of Sammy Davis Jr.," was considered a landmark reevaluation of life of the song and dance man, receiving many honors, including the ASCAP Deems Taylor Music Biography Award, the Zora Neale Hurston-Richard Wright Legacy Award, and the Nonfiction Book of the Year Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.