Literary Dinner - Professor Dennis Altman in conversation with the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG - Thursday 9 September 2021

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Literary Dinner by The Bookshop Darlinghurst  - Thursday 9 September from 7pm

God Save The Queen: The Strange Persistence of Monarchies - Professor Dennis Altman in conversation with the Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG

Soi 25 Restaurant, 296-300 Victoria St, Darlinghurst

The Bookshop Darlinghurst is delighted to partner with ACON and return to the chic and spacious restaurant - Soi 25 - for this new literary dinner. This event has also been made possible due to the support of the City of Sydney Night Time Diversification Program and Scribe Publications.

In-between enjoying a delicious Thai feast, Dennis Altman and Michael Kirby will be in conversation about Dennis' new book God Save The Queen: The Strange Persistence of Monarchies.

Important Notes:

There is no physical ticket. Both the purchaser and The Bookshop retain a record of the ticket purchase. You will be ticked off the door list on the night when you arrive.

The $65 ticket price covers the banquet dinner, but not drinks.

Cancellations with less than 12 hours notice may not be credited or refunded. At that late stage, it will be at the discretion of the restaurant.

We need the person purchasing to provide the following information in the Notes section when they buy their ticket(s) online:

-  names of everyone in their party

- any dietary requirements for everyone in their party (see sample menu below)

- any seating preferences e.g. if you have friends also attending and want to be seated together

About the speakers:

Professor Dennis Altman

Professor Dennis Altman AM is the son of Jewish refugees, and a writer and academic who first came to attention with the publication of his book Homosexual: Oppression & Liberation in 1972.

This book, which has often been compared to Greer’s Female Eunuch and Singer’s Animal Liberation, was the first serious analysis to emerge from the gay liberation movement, and was published in seven countries, with a readership that continues today. [In 2010 it was published in Japan, and in 2012 University of Queensland Press issued a fortieth anniversary edition]

Since then Altman has written fourteen books exploring sexuality, politics and their inter-relationship in Australia, the United States and now globally. These include The Homosexualization of America; AIDS and the New Puritanism; Rehearsals for Change; Gore Vidal’s America and Fifty First State?, as well as  a novel The Comfort of Men and memoirs Defying Gravity. His book, Global Sex (Chicago U.P, 2001), has been translated into five languages, including Spanish, Turkish and Japanese. Altman co-edited Why Human Security Matters (Allen & Unwin) and his book The End of the Homosexual? was published by UQP in 2013. Since then there are three new books: Queer Wars [with Jon Symons] (Polity, 2016); and co-edited with Sean Scalmer, How to Vote Progressive in Australia (Monash University Press, 2016), and Unrequited Love: Diary of an Accidental Activist [Monash UP 2019].

Altman is a Professorial Fellow in the Institute for Human Security at La Trobe. He was President of the AIDS Society of Asia and the Pacific (2001-5), and has been a member of the Governing Council of the International AIDS Society and a Board member of Oxfam Australia. In 2005 he was Visiting Professor of Australian Studies at Harvard. He was listed by The Bulletin as one of the 100 most influential Australians ever [July 4 2006], and was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in June 2008.

The Hon. Michael Kirby AC CMG

When he retired from the High Court of Australia on 2 February 2009, Michael Kirby was Australia’s longest serving judge.

He was first appointed in 1975 as a Deputy President of the Australian Conciliation & Arbitration Commission.  Soon after, he became inaugural Chairman of the Australian Law Reform Commission (1975-84).  Later, he was appointed a Judge of the Federal Court of Australia, then President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal (1984-96) and, concurrently, President of the Court of Appeal of Solomon Islands (1995-6).  His appointment to the High Court of Australia followed in 1996 and he served thirteen years.  In later years, he was Acting Chief Justice of Australia twice.

In addition to his judicial duties, Michael Kirby has served on three university governing bodies being elected Chancellor of Macquarie University in Sydney (1984-93).  He also served on many national and international bodies.  Amongst the latter have been service as a member of the World Health Organisation’s Global Commission on AIDS (1988-92); as President of the International Commission of Jurists, Geneva (1995-8); as UN Special Representative for Human Rights in Cambodia (1993-6); as a member of the UNESCO International Bioethics Committee (1995-2005); as a member of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Judicial Reference Group (2007- 9) and as a member of the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights(2004-). 

Following his judicial retirement, Michael Kirby was elected President of the Institute of Arbitrators & Mediators Australia from 2009-2010.  He served as a Board Member of the Australian Centre for International Commercial Arbitration (2009-14).  He has been appointed Honorary Visiting Professor by twelve universities. And he participates regularly in many local and international conferences and meetings.  He has been awarded a number of honorary doctorates at home and abroad.  He also serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Laws of Australia (2009 - ). 

He served 2011-12 as a member of the Eminent Persons Group on the future of the Commonwealth of Nations. He was a Commissioner of the UNDP Global Commission of HIV and the Law 2011-2012.  He was appointed to the Advisory Council of Transparency International, based in Berlin in 2012.  In 2013- 2014, he was appointed Chair of the UN Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights Violations in North Korea.  He a Commissioner of the UNAIDS Lancet Commission on AIDS to the Right to Health (2013-2014); the Global Fund’s Equitable Access Panel (2015-16); the UN Secretary-General’s High Level Panel on Access to Essential Medicines (2015-16); and UNAIDS/OHCHR’s panel on overreach of criminal law (2017); and Co-Chair of the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (2018 - ).

He was awarded the Gruber Justice Prize in 2010 and has been Patron of the Kirby Institute on Blood Borne Diseases in UNSW Sydney, Australia since 2011.  In May 2017, he was invested by Japan with the insignia of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star in Tokyo, with an audience with the Emperor of Japan.

The menu for the banquet style dinner will be similar to the menu below but will be confirmed 10 days prior to the event: 


- Banana Blossom salad with chicken.

- “Ma Hor” sticky ball of pork, prawn & peanut on shards of sour pineapple.

- Bowl of Prawn crackers.


- Wok fried chicken breast fillet with Prik king sauce, green bean and Thai eggplant.

- Yellow curry with Chicken.

- Stir fried Beef with Chinese broccoli , oyster sauce.

- Jasmine rice


 Vegan / Vegetarian Option


- Vegetarian Spring Roll

- Salt and Pepper Tofu with sweet chilli sauce.


- Yellow curry with vegetable

- Mixed mushroom stir fry with black fungus & chilli basil

- Crispy tofu stir fry with vegan Prik King chilli and green bean.

- Jasmine rice.

Special dietary requirements can be catered for but we need to be informed well in advance - at the time of booking preferably. We recommend you contact The Bookshop Darlinghurst on 02 9331 1103 or by email 

The restaurant is BYO and so you may bring your own wine along. However, the restaurant is fully licensed and has an extensive wine and cocktail list, so if you prefer you can buy wine and drinks from the restaurant. This is certainly encouraged and would be a great support to the restaurant. However, please note all drinks must be paid for as they are ordered.

If you want to check the restaurant's Drinks Menu or other details about the restaurant in advance, you can find it at this link -

The seating for the event can be flexible so that everyone is seated in a safe and comfortable way. Tables can be for two or up to twelve people. Most people prefer to be at a large table and enjoy a more social evening. In terms of sharing the food, four or multiples of four (eight, twelve) is the optimum number - though dietary requirements may cause some issues there. If you are booking for two, you can be seated at a table for two if you prefer. Or if you wish to sit with others and meet new people that can also be arranged. If you are booking as a single, you will end up sitting with others - possibly some Bookshop staff members or other single diners.

If you have a group of friends who all wish to be seated together, it will be simpler if one person buys the tickets for the entire group. If tickets are purchased individually or in smaller groups, please ensure clear directions are provided re the seating preferences. 

If you are booking for several people, we need the names of all the people in your party. We will have a door list at the restaurant and will be ticking people off there. We will also need the names in case there is a special dietary requirement to be attached to anyone. It will not be necessary to bring your proof of purchase (whether online or in-store) on the night. We will have confirmed everything prior and if we have everyone's details that will be adequate

Any enquiries about the event should be directed to The Bookshop Darlinghurst (02 9331 1103) and not to the restaurant. We recommend you telephone us then everything can be discussed and arranged more simply.

Note: during Covid-19, planning anything in advance can be extremely challenging. Therefore if anyone is unable to attend on the day due to a Covid related concern, we are happy to provide a full refund of the ticket cost. Or if you wish to support The Bookshop, we can provide you with a Gift Voucher instead that you can spend on books, DVDs or other items. Note: a minimum of 12 hours notice is required as we need to advise the restaurant. Cancellations with less than 12 hours notice will be at their discretion.

If you should feel at all unwell on the day with cold/flu symptoms or believe you may have come into contact with someone exposed to Covid-19, we would ask that you not attend the event. We will issue a refund or credit and hope to see you at our next literary dinner in 2021.


- if there is a change to the capacity that the restaurant can host in their space due to Covid, and numbers need to be reduced, the people who bought their tickets last may have their booking voided and their money refunded. This would be a last resort measure and though it is unlikely to occur, it is not impossible. 

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