Burnt Eucalyptus Wood: On Origins, Language and Identity


Ennatu Domingo
Product Price UK Shipping EU Shipping ROW Shipping
Paperback £9.99 £3.00 £5.00 £15.00


In stock

SKU: 9781911648581 Category:

Who are you, when you come from two places?

Ennatu Domingo was adopted from Ethiopia at the age of seven and transplanted to Barcelona where she learned to flourish. But she never forgot her nomadic childhood in the mountains and meadows of Gondar, near the northern border with Eritrea.

Having witnessed the hardships of Ethiopian rural women at an early age, she was inspired to study the patriarchal structures that underpinned her individual experiences, both in the West and in contemporary Ethiopia. She has lived in Kenya, Belgium and the UK, and has travelled across the five continents, but keeps returning to the country of her childhood, to re-construct a lost identity guided by the echo of her first language Amharic and the weight of a rich cultural heritage.

Torn between forgetting and remembering, Ennatu explores the dilemma of international adoptees and migrant children and their quest for belonging in a book destined to be a classic of its genre.


‘Burnt Eucalyptus Wood defies easy categorization. It is at once a love story and a battle cry, an elegy and an anthem. It is compulsive reading, bursting with tenderness while remaining uncompromising in its assessments and realizations. Take note: this astonishing book announces the arrival of a rare voice, wise beyond her years. Perhaps beyond all of ours.’
Maaza Mengiste, author of The Shadow King, shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize

‘The biography of Ennatu Domingo is impressive, and hearing her speak is no less impressive. In this small body there are more experiences than can be imagined for a 25-year-old from Barcelona.’
—Ara Magazine

‘In the midst of so much pessimism, especially among young people, this one book is like a crack of light in the dark.’
—Starred review in Time Out (Barcelona)

‘The author mixes the sentimental, intimate and evocative part, which she knows first-hand, with statistics and reports on the African social and economic reality.’
—La Vanguardia

‘A moving, powerful memoir; an essay on how memories of where we come from shape us long after we’ve left.’
Elizabeth Chakrabarty, author of Lessons in Love and Other Crimes

‘Through the pages of Burnt Eucalyptus Wood, the author makes her debut exposing in the first person the complexities of a country at war and the experiences of a girl who distanced herself from her culture and her language, Amharic, and has built her identity in another country.’11
Diari de Barcelona

Published: 20 April 2023
ISBN: 978-1911648581
Cover design: © Luke Bird
Front cover painting: By Bekelech Tamayo
Dimensions: A-Format 178mm x 111mm
Length: 200 pages

Publicist: Claire Maxwell at Read Media
Agent: Anna Soler-Pont at Pontas Agency
Foreign rights: The Marsh Agency

About the author

Ennatu Domingo was born in Ethiopia. She holds a BA in Political Science and an MA in International Conflict and Security. She was awarded a Schuman traineeship to work at the European Parliament’s Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) Unit and currently works for the European Centre for Development Policy Management in The Netherlands.

Ennatu’s non-fiction debut, Burnt Eucalyptus Wood was published in March 2022 by Editorial Navona in Catalan and Spanish. The book was an instant success across print and broadcast media.

Burnt Eucalyptus Wood: On Origins, Language and Identity

We left Dansha for Wereta in a hot, jam-packed bus filled with a sharp smell of sweat. The air was dense and it was difficult to breathe. The parched road was narrow, and every time we met another vehicle it seemed as though we might come off it altogether. There were many potholes and the driver had to brake constantly to avoid them if he didn’t want the bus to overturn. I was sitting beside the window with my little brother on my lap; I was seven and he was three, but he weighed hardly anything. Mikaele had a high fever and was so weak he no longer even cried. Even had he done so, out of thirst or hunger, I had nothing to give him. We’d already finished the dabo and there was no water left. We weren’t carrying any luggage, just a few birr. We wore everything we had.

Through the dirty window I could see the flat landscape we were leaving behind. It was still the dry season, but we were entering the greenest, wettest, most mountainous part of Ethiopia. From time to time we would overtake a horse-drawn carriage, a group of women carrying bundles of vegetables on their heads or umbrellas, to shield themselves from the sun, walking along the side of the road. The bumps made my forehead pound against the glass.

Suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I glimpsed a teacher from the school in Dansha among the bus passengers. I’d only gone to school for one day, one day in my whole life, and he probably wouldn’t recognise me, but, just in case, I covered my face with my white cotton netela and hugged Mikaele tightly to my chest. I didn’t want him to ask how my mother was. Wasn’t it clear she was very unwell? Sitting beside me, Yamrot had vomited into the aisle of the bus minutes earlier, and the people around us looked at us in disgust. She was coughing a lot and her netela was bloodstained. No one offered to help us. By then their aid wouldn’t have been much use: Yamrot’s state seemed irreversible.

The bus was going to Gondar. I knew it took two days to go from Dansha to Wereta, and Gondar was the halfway point. Perhaps we would have to spend the night at the bus stop, as we had done before, and wait for the next bus.

What I didn’t know was that this dusty road would bring me to a horizon beyond anything I could imagine.

Lucy Writers, 11 May 2023: ‘To belong somewhere new, you have to feel at peace with the place you left behind’

Cafè d’idees, 21 April 2022: Ennatu Domingo in conversation with Gemma Nierga

Ara Magazine, 13 April 2022: From rural Ethiopia to the heart of the EU: the story of a Catalan woman of African descent

El Nacional, 10 April 2022: Ennatu Domingo: “You can’t see me as a person you saved”

La Vanguardia, 28 March 2022: Ennatu Domingo: “My African mother died at my age, 25 years old”

Zenda Libros, 28 March 2022: Ennatu Domingo: “I am making visible the many experiences of young immigrants”

More 324, 21 March 2022: Ennatu Domingo presents the biography Burnt eucalyptus wood. A story about origins and identities


You may also like…