Wright was born in Andover, Hampshire, and spent his childhood in Canada, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Germany. He attended Packwood Haugh School from 1966 to 1967 and Shrewsbury School from 1967 to 1971. He studied Arabic, Turkish and Islamic civilization at St John's College, Oxford. He joined Reuters news agency in 1980 as a correspondent, and has been based in the Middle East for most of the last three decades. He has served as Reuters' Cairo bureau chief, and he has lived and worked throughout the region, including in Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Tunisia and the Gulf. From 1998 to 2003, he was based in Washington, DC, covering U.S. foreign policy for Reuters. For two years until the fall of 2011 Wright was editor of the Arab Media & Society Journal, published by the Kamal Adham Center for Journalism Training and Research at the American University in Cairo.