He is the author of eighteen non-fiction books and a novel. His most recent books are "Beyond the Walls: Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Life," "Excellent Catholic Parishes: The Guide to Best Places and Practices," and "Best Practices from America's Best Churches." He is the creator of "New Beginnings 101, 201, 301," a parish revitalization curriculum, which was winner of first place prize for pastoral ministry in the 2004 Catholic Press Association Awards.
Wilkes has written for numerous publications, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, and The New York Times Magazine. He has been a visiting lecturer or professor at Clark University, University of Pittsburgh, Columbia University, Holy Cross, Boston University, Brooklyn College, the University of Notre Dame and the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.