Without aiming to be a survival guide, romance or autobiography, Sunbathing in Siberia manages to be all of them and none. Told completely from the Trans-Siberian and a series of Russian jets, this is the story of a young British poet, who, after becoming engaged to his translator over 3500 miles east, embarks on a journey into the very heart of Siberia to marry his fiancée. However, in place of the desolate wasteland he expected to find, Michael discovers the side of Siberia little known outside of Russia. After 30 years of British rain, Michael has finally to learn the art of sunbathing, in the last place on Earth anyone would think to take a pair of flip-flops.
With little knowledge of post-Soviet Russia, or its language; and without any survival skills, Michael has to adapt to the Siberian way of life. As Russia struggles to find its new identity, Michael too is forced to recreate himself, while finding the tools needed to live with parading nuclear missiles, wild bears, and a host of extreme dangers.
After his debut publication in 2009, Cardiff born Michael Oliver-Semenov served as the first poet in residence for Blown, the magazine of cultural intelligence, and has since published in a plethora of magazines and journals worldwide, including the The Morning Star, Orbis, Mandala Review and Ink Sweat and Tears, to name just a few. In 2011 Michael emigrated to Siberia to live with his wife Anastasia. When he is not growing vegetables at the family dacha in summer, or avoiding the wild Siberian hounds of winter, Michael is also a freelance English teacher and occasionally contributes to The Siberian Times. He will be on tour promoting Sunbathing in Siberia and poetry collection The Elephant's Foot (Parthian, June 2014) in June 2014. Keep an eye on the Parthian website for futher details.
Mandala Journal (University of Georgia USA) 2013 Issue:
Ink Sweat & Tears (Summer Issue 2013):
Samples of poetry can be seen on page 119 of the recent Lampeter Review:
And on page 63 of The Lampeter Review issue 5:
Blown e-zine issue 1:
Blown e-zine issue 2:
To read an interview with Mao go here:
In 2010 Mao created and conducted the world’s first international poetry orchestra which performed in German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and Russian, to celebrate the opening of his first poetry to painting collaboration ‘A Kind of Rubaiyat’ with the artist Jemma Bailey:
To read a review of Ten of the Best in Buzz Magazine go to page 46:
To read reviews of Cheval 5 go here: