WENDY LAURA BELCHER is Professor of African literature in Princeton University's Department of Comparative Literature and Department of African American Studies. Her scholarly interests emerge from her life experiences growing up in East and West Africa, where she became fascinated with the richness of Ghanaian and Ethiopian intellectual traditions. Her research books in progress are Ladder of Heaven: The Miracles of the Virgin Mary in Ethiopian Literature and Art, and The Black Queen of Sheba: A Global History of an African Idea. She has published several books, several co-edited volumes, and many articles, receiving national awards for her writing, including the Dick Goldensohn Grant for Innovative Journalism, the Washington State Governors Writers Award, and the PEN Society Martha Albrand Award Finalist. Her book Writing Your Journal Article in Twelve Weeks: A Guide to Academic Publishing Success is a best-seller, second edition from the University of Chicago Press in 2019.

Other Works

  • The Life-Struggles of Walatta Petros

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

  • Abyssinia’s Samuel Johnson: Ethiopian Thought in the Making of an English Author

  • Honey from the Lion: An African Journey


Awards and Recognition

  • PEN Society Martha Albrand Award Finalist 1988. For outstanding first book of nonfiction; judged by Annie Dillard & Allen Ginsberg.
  • Washington State Governors Writers Award 1989. For outstanding books published by Washington authors the previous year.
  • African Studies Association Bethwell A. Ogot Award Finalist 2013. Nominated for Abyssinia’s Samuel Johnson as the best book on East Africa published in the previous year.
  • Association for the Preservation and Publication of African Historical Sources’ Paul Hair Prize. For The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros as the best critical edition or translation of primary source material on Africa in 2015–2017.
  • Society for the Study of Early Modern Women Award. For The Life and Struggles of Our Mother Walatta Petros as the best Scholarly Edition in Translation of 2015.