The Women I Think About At Night

Reading material

Full English translation

Original title: Naiset joita ajattelen öisin

Published: 2018

Publisher: Otava

Class/genre: Non-Fiction

Pages: 448

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
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
SWEDEN: Wahlström & Widstrand
Simon & Schuster (North American rights)

Newspaper & Blog praise:


“The stories are complicated and inspiring, and Kankimäki’s experience unwinding each one to help understand her own life reminds us of the power of using travel for self-discovery.” —Travel + Leisure


“[A]stute, entertaining….This insightful book will appeal to adventure enthusiasts and be an inspiration for those with an eye on hitting their stride later in life.” —Publishers Weekly


“[E]nlightening…[A] patchwork study of the many hurdles women artists faced—and still face.” —Kirkus Reviews


”’The Women I Think About at Night’ is both fiction and nonfiction. Crossing the distance between those two is a journey that calls for good preparation and great caution. Kankimäki does it victoriously.” – Lauri Jäntti Award Jury


“The most delightful thing about reading is to unexpectedly find new and valuable things. Mia Kankimäki’s work is like that.” –Helsingin Sanomat newspaper on
Things That Make One’s Heart Beat Faster


”Kankimäki is a renaissance writer and explorer. She cannot limit her excitement and passion to small synopsis or summaries. As a non-fiction this book follows its own path – – – but for those whose lives need adjusting these travel stories work as inspiration!” – Anun ihmeelliset matkat blog


”Kankimäki’s writing flows effortlessly! In a short paragraph one can indulge in facts, art, knowledge, interpretations and emotions. – – – I admire how the elements come together, how these women pass by so lively. They will leave a permanent mark on my heart.” – Tuijata. Kulttuuripohdintoja blog


”Kankimäki herself becomes the pages of the book. She puts her life down in words honestly and calmly. Deliberately. Beautifully.” – Keskeneräisten kirjojen klubi blog


”Easy to read, hard to forget.” – Kirkko & kaupunki newspaper


”Reading Mia Kankimäki’s Women I Think About At Night taught me a great deal about the women she wrote about, but also about life in different centuries, about women’s position, travelling, artists life, exotic cultures, cities and countries. – – It is entertaining and enjoyable!” – Nostetaan teksti pöydälle blog


“Insanely interesting – thank you!” – Kirja vieköön blog


“I was hooked up from the first page. I couldn’t wait to return to the book. Kankimäki writes so lively, but meticulously, she is honest and also very funny.” – Sateenkaarimaalari blog


“The book creates a clever continuum: we read about a woman who writes about women who refused to live like women were expected.” – Voima newspaper


Mia Kankimäki’s new book is full of inspiring stories of strong women!” Anna magazine


”Mia Kankimäki sold her home, quit her job and wrote a hit book.” – Me Naiset magazine


”Kankimäki doesn’t pursue eternal happiness or positivity. The book is more about conquering your own fears if – and especially when – they are standing between you and your dreams.” Helsingin Sanomat newspaper


”This book is like a pair of warm woolen socks, or like a cup of Earl Gray with honey. You wish it would never end!” – Kodin kuvalehti magazine


”Kankimäki is not afraid to reveal her own personality, and she writes about the historical women like they were her friends.” – Metro 19.11.2018


”Exploring the world of these extraordinary women is constantly surprising and makes me gasp for air. The mix of history, travelogue and narration is irresistible! – Kirjaluotsi blog


”The Nightwomen give you a bad case of wanderlust, and provide good advice for women (or anybody else) who travels the world” – Sunnuntaiaamu blog


”The Women I Think About at Night” is one the most enchanting, inspiring, and the loveliest books I have read!” – Kirjanurkkaus blog


”I hope we get to read about Kankimäki’s travels and about the Nightwomen more in the future, because I think I’m quite in love with her books” – Lukuisa blog


”Kankimäki’s book is so inspiring! She has managed to find women whose lives had ups and downs, but they got over the hardships and followed their dreams. Is there anything better than reading about women who overcome all the obstacles and make their dreams come true?” – Books By Taru blog


”The book has a brilliant premise, and it is executed perfectly. The narration is attractive and captivating.”

Eniten minua kiinnostaa tie blog


”I read it slowly, wishing that the book would never end!”

– Kirsin kirjanurkka blog


”Joyful experience! Full of girl power, beauty, and historical details that make it vivid and charming. Reading makes one feel calm and happy.”

Kirja hyllyssä blog


”Charming book that combines travelogue and history, and introduces a group of women who found their own path and rebelled against the social norms of their times.”

– Kotiliesi magazine


”Buy this book to your mom, daughter, sister, partner or friend, and they will not be disappointed. Hard to imagine that anyone wouldn’t like this book!”

– Cin Cin blog


These Night Women will never leave my mind. The next time I doubt myself, I will close my eyes and think about them – and about Mia Kankimäki – and all the things they have been able to do.

– Kotivinkki magazine


”One of the most unique travel guides!”

– Helsingin Sanomat newspaper


”Joyful mix of non-fic, travel diary and self-help!”

Eeva magazine


The Women I Think About At Night is so empowering! I feel like a stronger person after reading it. I feel I am capable of more! I am a night woman of my own life!
– Kirjasähkökäyrä blog


Kankimäki has the skill of writing: she can bring history and past alive. She wonders, observes, experiences and figures things out in such a realistic way that the reader shares her excitement and passion.
– Kulttuuri kukoistaa blog 


I fell in love with Kankimäki’s writing, her sharp humor and precise remarks. – – She writes so honestly about the process of creating the book that the reader can relate.
– Hyviä Sanoja blog 


So captivating that you can’t skip even one sentence!
– Lumiomena blog 


The Women I Think About at Night makes one reflect their own life and choices. It’s a book you can read many times.
– Kirjakaapin kummitus


This book is great for many women, older and younger. And I encourage men to open the book too!
– Oma Sivunkääntäjä blog


Kankimäki’s work is a power book for all girls and women. It urges you to do, go, dare and find your dreams – and yourself.
 Parasta ennen blog


This book is so inspiring that I immediately decided to book a trip to Florence!
– Tuijata. Kulttuuripohdintoja Blog 


Mia Kankimäki has smart wits and fabulous self-irony!
 Maaseudun tulevaisuus newspaper  


”After reading this book you want to go out on an expedition – or go to the library and dig deep into the forgotten biographies. Because the Nightwomen do whatever they want to do!” – Helsingin Sanomat newspaper


Pick up the book, open it, read the forewords – and you are ready for a journey of your lifetime!
 Curiouser & Curiouser blog 


The Women I Think About at Night is a book about brave women – and about Mia Kankimäki herself. She looks for advice and guidance from these historical role models.

– Suomen Kuvalehti magazine 22.2.2019



History is full of men’s strories. So Mia Kankimäki’s book is fresh and important, but it is also done brilliantly with a mix of facts and fiction. She paints an adventure after adventure in front of the reader, who cannot help but dive into them.




We are so lucky to have women who don’t just settle to dream, but actually follow their hearts. We are lucky to have Mia Kankimäki, joka left her old life and embarked on an adventure to brighten up the days of all of the women who are stuck in everyday life and work. We are lucky to have Mia’s sharp pen, curious mind and brave heart, who can lead by example and encourage us to step on unknown paths.

– Double you hell yes – blog


Kankimäki is a modern explorer – a female Indiana Jones, and she is not afraid to get her hands dirty on her search for Night Women. But instead of a whip she strikes with her pen!

– Luettua elämää blog


Every woman should have this book! It’s like morning coffee or a nail file – life it impossible with it! We need The Women I Think About at Night in every woman’s bag, porch swing or hideaway. And in every man’s life too!

– Kuriiri magazine 6.3.


Foreign publishers praise:

”The Women I Think About At Night is quite exceptional book. I was immediately excited by the connection of a very personal story about finding own way of life with the life stories of such inspirational women as Karen Blixen. Their voices in Kankimäki´s writing come to life and speak to us again in natural and really inspiring way.” – Diana Stelova, literary editor, Albatros Media


”Our new team member  the young and very ambitious editor of the contemporary fiction division  fell in love with the writing of the author from the first chapter: ’This piece of literary art will be the start of the new feminists prose series in our division. We believe this book has great future ahead.’ ” – Alexey  Burov, Foreign Rights Manager, Eksmo


”To be completely honest The Women I Think About at Night was one of very few books I returned from the Fair excited about. Elina, your pitch and your passion were one of few I remembered after hearing about who knows how many books – and led to me remembering, pursuing, and buying a book that I think will make many, many readers happy and inspired. The pitch deserves, and this comes from a former agent, best pitch of Frankfurt awards.” – Ira Silverberg, Senior Editor, Simon & Schuster, Inc.

”I totally fell in love with this book. Mia Kankimaki actually did what we all would love to do: travel to all the places you have ever read about. She packed her bags and followed the footsteps of female writers, explorers and artists, women who were doing what they were passionate about. From Karen Blixen, Yayoi Kusama, Artemisia Gentileschi to Alexandra David-Neel, they all gave her valuable life lessons, like ’Turn your wounds into your strenghts’ (Gentileschi) or ’Be brave. It doesn’t matter if you’re scared’ (Blixen) or ’Follow the path that opens up in front of you’ (David Neel), and so the book is also Kankimaki’s story of overcoming her own fears. The Women I Think About at Night is a truly inspirational book, part memoir, part travellogue, part biography. Which you can’t stop reading.” – Jacqueline Smit, Owner/Publisher, Orlando

”Mia’s fascinating books will definitely make your heart beat faster: A beautiful, exceptional style, fancy ideas, honesty, bravery and wittiness – an exciting new voice. As our list includes such fine writers as Gloria Steinem, Lauren Elkin, Roxane Gay, Olivia Laing or Rebecca Solnit in our paperback list, I think Mia finds a publishing home with us which is the perfect environment for her and her work.   – Madlen Reimer, Editor, btb Verlag, Verlagsgruppe Random House

”Time transcending, this book helps us introspect in continuous journeys while revealing life as it is – it can be brave and unconstrained, which is magical and touching.”
– Xu Wang,  Winshare Publishing, China


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


Mia Kankimäki

Things That Make One’s Heart Beat Faster

2013, Non-Fiction

Related news