Things That Make One’s Heart Beat Faster

A narrative non-fiction about a Finnish writer’s trip to Japan to look for her soul mate – who lived over 1000 years ago.

Mia Kankimäki quits her job and embarks on an adventure. She travels to Kyoto to research Sei Shonagon, a Japanese writer and a lady-in-waiting who wrote about her life in the court of Heian era Japan. Mia doesn’t speak a word of Japanese, and isn’t quite accustomed to scientific research, but her endeavor produced the most wonderful book about Japan, Sei Shonagon, and a middle aged woman’s solo travels.

Despite her struggles and initial culture shock, Mia finds herself mesmerized by temples, cherry blossoms, kabuki-theater, Zen meditation, and tea rooms. She reads the Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon and finds a soul sister: a modern woman who loves making lists of all things charming, annoying, elegant, or things that make one’s heart beat faster.


Rights sold:
FINLAND: Otava (orig.
ESTONIA: Varrak
ITALY: Edizioni Piemme
JAPAN: Soshisha
GERMANY: btb Verlag/Random House

The Women I Think About At Night

What can a 40-something, childless woman do with her life? Hop on a plane and follow the footsteps of historical female figures: fearless explorers, gifted writers and passionate artists.

Mia Kankimäki leaves her job, sells her apartment and travels to Africa to see where Karen Blixen – the Danish author, baroness and coffee farmer – lived in the 1920s. She goes to Japan in search of a cure for her depression, and to research Yayoi Kusama, the world-renowned artist, and around the world in the footsteps of 19th century women explorers. In Italy, she spends days looking for forgotten Renaissance women painters of the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. If these women could make it in the world hundreds of years ago, why couldn’t she?

The Women I Think About At Night is part travelogue and part biography: in clear prose Kankimäki writes about the lost women adventurers of history – perfect reading for adult fans of Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, and anyone who’s ever wanted to travel to all the places they’ve ever read about.


Rights sold:

FINLAND: Otava (orig.)

CHINA: Winshare Publishing
CZECH REPUBLIC: Albatros Media/Motto
DENMARK: Bilgrav Publishing
ESTONIA: Varrak
FRANCE: Editions Leduc.s
GERMANY:btb Verlag/RandomHouse
ITALY: Neri Pozza
LATVIA: Zvaigzne
LITHUANIA: Gelmes Publishing
NETHERLANDS: Uitgeverij Orlando
NORWAY: Gursli Berg Forlag
RUSSIA: Eksmo Publishing
SLOVENIA: Didakta
SWEDEN: Wahlström & Widstrand
UNITED STATES:
Simon & Schuster (North American rights)

Mia Kankimäki

Mia Kankimäki is the author of two best-selling books which blend travelogue, memoir, biography and women’s history. After taking a master’s degree in comparative literature at the University of Helsinki and working diligently in Finnish publishing, in 2010 she left her job and traveled to Japan to write her first book. Her books have received several literary awards, for example the Best Travel Book of the year 2013, the HelMet Award 2015, and Otava Book Foundation’s Non Fiction Award 2020. She currently lives in Helsinki, Finland, whenever she’s not traveling for her next book project.

Mia has been enthusiastic about Japanese culture for years, and is a qualified ikebana teacher of the Sogetsu school. Her first book Things That Make One’s Hear Beat Faster took her to Kyoto where she has spent long periods of writing and making research ever since. Kankimäki’s second book The Women I Think About at Night has sold over 36,000 copies in Finland and the translation rights have been sold to 15 territories, including USA and China.

 

Author photo by Otava Publishing