Philo Bistro

An Evening with Catherine Rey and Olivier Vojetta


Thursday 9 May

At 6.15 pm

In French (B2 recommended)


257 Clarence St, CBD, Sydney



$15 non members
$10 for members
A glass of wine included

Join us to celebrate the release of Olivier Vojetta’s latest book, La Folie des Frères (The Madness of Brothers), a gripping psychological thriller which originated in the aftermaths of the 13-November terrorist attacks in Paris and resonates even more in today’s world. La Folie des Frères is another tantalising thriller delivering all the psychological zigzags, superb action and authentic stories of schizophrenia and burnout that made Aimer encore a critically acclaimed crime fiction. What’s more? It’s based on a true story!

Olivier Vojetta is the long-standing host of Philo Bistro, and for once he will be on the receiving end of questions! He is the author of 7 books including 6 novels and a bilingual French-English book of short stories comprising a few award-winning pieces of wonder. Olivier will be interviewed by Catherine Rey, an award-winning and flamboyant author herself.
Her previous novel, Ce que racontait Jones, published as The Spruiker’s Tale by Giramondo in 2005, was shortlisted for the Prix Femina and the Prix Renaudot. She has been writing in English for a few years: The Lovers is her first English language novel.

Books will be available for purchase via Abbey’s Bookshop. This Philo Bistro will start at 6.00pm with a book signing session and an opportunity to discuss with the two authors. The traditional Philo Bistro discussions and Q&A with the public will run from 6.30 to 8.00, with a glass of French wine provided for guests to enjoy.

Join us for a special soirée of discussion, reflection and meaningful exchange.

Discover our series of philosophy meet-ups - à la française!

During these themed sessions moderated by published author, Olivier Vojetta, explore ideas of social and cultural importance, unpack contemporary issues and re-examine how you understand the world. Each meet-up is an opportunity to engage in friendly debate and discussion over a glass of wine, whilst practising your French speaking, listening and comprehension skills. 

We recommend French level B2+ to participate. No additional preparation is necessary. 

About your moderator:

Olivier Vojetta was born in Nancy, France and lived in London for more than 10 years before moving Down Under with his Australian wife. He is a fiction writer who has published several novels in French. 

Full program:

Please note that a separate booking is required to attend each session. 



Date available very soon...

Program will be available very soon...


Wednesday 10 April 2024, 6:30pm,

The Marvelous Miss Augustine Soubeiran


As a co-founder of Kambala, one of Sydney's premier schools, Augustine Soubeiran stands as an influential French educator whose journey through academia and society drew inspiration from literary giants like Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters. As a two-time President of the Alliance Française de Sydney, she played a pivotal role in the French-Australian Assistance League during WW1, and is commemorated for her courage, vision, and altruism in raising funds to support soldiers, their widows, and orphaned families.

Thursday 15 February 2024, 6:30pm,

In conversation with Julia Zemiro


Recently honoured with the prestigious Woman of the Year Award at the 2023 French Australian Excellence Gala diner, Julia embodies talent as a French-born Australian television presenter, radio host, actress, singer, writer, and comedian. Recognised widely as the infamous host of the music quiz and live performance show, RocKwiz, as well as the inspiring travel show Great Australian Walks, she brings an unparalleled blend of wit and entertainment.

Wednesday 13 December 2023, 6:30pm,

Words and Wonders


Join us for the grand finale of this year's Philo Bistro series, featuring a captivating exploration into the art of writing with two of the most respected French writers, Nicolas Fargues and Elisa Shua Dusapin. Our dynamic duo du soir will connect with us via zoom, offering an in-depth exploration of their latest masterpieces: La Péremption (by Nicolas) and Le vieil incendie (by Elisa). This unique encounter promises a treasure trove of stories and profound insights into the craft of writing. The session will be held in person at the Alliance Française and artfully facilitated by our long standing host and writer, Olivier Vojetta

Wednesday 8 November 2023, 6:30pm,

The Paris Cooking School


The Paris Cooking School Join us for an enlightening discussion with author Sophie Beaumont just days after the official release of her latest novel, “The Paris Cooking School”, and discover the art of embracing a French lifestyle, no matter where you live.
Be among the first to delve into her book, released on 1st November, and immerse yourself in a narrative filled with love, hope, second chances, and the irresistible allure of French cuisine against the enchanting backdrop of the City of Lights. This exclusive event promises to be a treat for the soul as Sophie unveils the inspiration behind her novel. If you're lucky enough to get your hands on the novel before the event, don't miss the chance to bring it along for a special autograph session with the author herself.

Wednesday 11 October 2023, 6:30pm,

The Journey of Roses 

Every rose tells a story... We are excited to host the award-winning French author Oscar Coop-Phane via Zoom for a special evening of discussion about the fascinating journey of roses. In his latest book, "Rose Nuit," we embark on a journey through Ethiopian greenhouses, the sprawling flower market of Amsterdam, and the winding alleyways of Paris to unravel the complexities of the international rose trade. During this engaging Philo Bistro event hosted by author Olivier Vojetta, we will delve deep into the creative and investigative mindset of Oscar Coop-Phane. He will share his personal journey as an accomplished writer and provide unique insights into the state of our world.

Wednesday 13 September 20236:30pm,


Love Letters from Paris 

Spring is known as the season of lovers, so it's only fitting that we're welcoming world-renowned author Camille Laurens for an extraordinary romance-themed Philo Bistro in September. A major voice on the contemporary literary scene, Camille Laurens will speak with us via Zoom to delve into big questions, such as the influence of our loved ones on our identity and how love has changed in a digital age. She's authored numerous books throughout her illustrious career, including Dans ces bras-là (In Those Arms), a number one bestseller in France and her first book to be translated into English.

Wednesday 16 August 20236:30pm,

One night with a spy 

Come and meet former fighter pilot and spy Jack Beaumont for an exceptional tell-all night about life as an elite undercover agent working for the renowned French intelligence unit DGSE. Jack Beaumont, the author of the bestselling novel "The Frenchman," recently released in France as "L'Homme sans nom," will grace us with his presence in what promises to be a rare and memorable encounter with a former spy. We will delve into Jack’s extraordinary experiences, from his childhood as an unconditional fan of the movie "Top Gun" to the present day, where the past sometimes erupts in his daily life, bringing forth long-forgotten nightmares and more.

Wednesday 5 July 20236:30pm,

Behind the scenes of the film industry 

Delve into the captivating realm of cinema with an exceptional soirée of French debate and discussions with actress Paula Garcia (Bump, “Little White Lies”/Les Petits Mouchoirs) and actor and stuntman, Bruno Bonelli. The pair will join us in person in Sydney to give us a behind-the-scenes look at the reality of life in the film industry at our next Philo Bistro event!
Being partners both on and off the screen, they’ll share tales of their acting journey, from the genesis of their passion for acting to their enthralling debuts. Having both spent considerable time in France, they'll put a special focus on their experiences in the French cinema.
Together, they’ll delve into the essence of what makes a movie truly resonate – the emotions that tug at our heartstrings, from love and rage to sorrow and joy. This, and more, will be revealed in this spellbinding evening. Don’t forget to bring your popcorn!

Wednesday 7 June 20236:30pm,


So, you want to be a writer? 

An exceptional soirée of French debate and discussions with award-winning novelist, editor and literary critic Marc Villemain. Delve into what life is like as a writer, the ups and downs of creativity and the long, uncertain journey to being published. What are some of the key challenges to become a writer? What does it take to write a story that finds its public in today’s world? What are some of the risks and opportunities arising from Artificial Intelligence technologies such as ChatGPT in the book industry? Explore these questions, using Villemain’s latest novel “Il faut croire au printemps” (“We must believe in spring”) as compelling case study.

Wednesday 10 May 20236:30pm,


Culture, Work and “Class Defectors”

An exceptional soirée of French debate and discussions with member of French Parliament Stéphane Vojetta.
Focus will be on so called “class defectors” (“transfuges de classe” in French), and the role that culture, personal values and work can play in forging for oneself a destiny that is on paper out of reach.
What does it take to move from a small provincial town in a disadvantaged area to the elite world of high finance and then onto front row in politics?

Our host Olivier Vojetta will explore these questions and many more with his special guest.

Tuesday 21 March 2023, 6:30pm,


The Alliance Française de Sydney invited the exceptional author, Philippe Besson on the day of the Australian release of the film Lie with me by Olivier Peyon.

Based on his autobiographical novel, Arrête avec tes mensonges, the film is screened at the Alliance Francaise French Film Festival, the largest festival of French cinema outside France.

This meeting, hosted by Olivier Vojetta, focussed on the genesis of the film, the author's experience, and the role of cinema in extending a literary work.


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