My Books

Research Books

Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success Second Edition (2019)

The best-selling workbook on transforming classroom essays, conference papers, and dissertation chapters in the humanities and social science into publishable articles, now in a second edition.

Abyssinia’s Samuel Johnson: Ethiopian Thought in the Making of an English Author (2012)

Highlights the lasting influence of an African people on the famous eighteenth-century English author Samuel Johnson.


The Life of Walatta-Petros: A Seventeenth-Century Biography of an African Woman, Concise Edition (2018) with Michael Kleiner

Teaching edition of the first English translation of the earliest-known book-length biography of an African woman–inexpensive, without footnotes, scholarly introduction, glossary, or illuminations. 

The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros: A Seventeenth-Century African Biography of an Ethiopian Woman (2015) with Michael Kleiner

The first English translation of the earliest-known book-length biography of an African woman. With philological and substantive footnotes, scholarly introductions, glossary, and 68 color plates.

Awarded the African Studies Association Paul Hair Award for the Best Critical Edition or Translation of Primary Source Materials on Africa in 2015-2017

Awarded of the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women award for the best Scholarly Edition in Translation of 2015.

The Jesuits in Ethiopia (1609-1641): Latin Letters in Translation (2017) translated by Jessica Wright and Leon Grek, introduced by Leonardo Cohen, edited by Wendy Laura Belcher

Books in Progress

The Black Queen of Sheba: A Global History of an African Idea

Addresses seven centuries of the circulation and influence of a medieval Ethiopian legend about the Queen of Sheba on European and American arts and literature.

Early African Literature: An Anthology of Written Texts from 3000 BCE to 1900 CE

The Glory of the Monarchs Sheba and Solomon: A Translation of the Medieval Ethiopian Text of the Kebra Nagast, with Michael Kleiner (in progress)

Ladder of Heaven: The Miracles of the Virgin Mary in Medieval African Literature and Art (under contract with Princeton University Press)


Honey from the Lion: An African Journey (1988)

A memoir about returning for a year at the age of 20 in 1982 to the West African country of Ghana where she spent part of her childhood.