End of season 18/19

Wow, it has really been a long time (five months) since I wrote my last blog!  Running a political campaign and some family trips interfered, but we are back to focusing on our passion: Silvin Books and scheduling presentations at important venues.

However, there is no doubt we had a great season, which included 15 lectures. We value every venue which invites René to speak. Some of the highlight were:

The History of Mar-a-Lago at the Historical Society of Palm Beach County. An organization close to our hearts, with big support from Jeremy Johnson and Debbi Murray.

The Life and Work of Addison Mizner at the Lost Tree Club in Palm Beach Gardens. This venue invited us to speak at the beautiful clubhouse after René gave several club members an actual tour through Mar-a-Lago last winter. It is wonderful working with Laura Estes, and we met some other amazing people during the dinner which followed the lecture.


The History of Transatlantic Ocean Liner Travelat the Dixon Education Building of The Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach. We worked for the first time with Sofia Maduro, the Dixon’s new education director and we hope to work with her organization again.


We managed to escape the rigorous campaign schedule for a few days to travel to the Oceanreef Club in Key Largo where we spoke about Mar-a-Lago, and on to Key West for a Duchess of Windsor presentation in the Monroe County Library. We have now been invited back to 5AE45ABE-916A-4376-8AE3-9FEB8377F0D5Oceanreef for next season, and in Key West René continues to draw large crowds of fans at the library, as he wintered in Key West for 25 years before moving to Palm Beach. We also thank Leslie Lindsay for putting us up in her lovely home!

CC82B848-238F-40DC-9A67-CC44B34BE678We had several high-profile events in Palm Beach, including a Duchess presentation for the Young Professionals Organization (YPO) at the Everglades Club, where we were invited by Lisa Trulaske. That was followed by another Duchess lecture for the charity organization Food for the Poor, organized by Cheryl Whitman at The Colony Hotel. We look forward to continued relationships with both of these amazing women.


I don’t want to forget to mention the 700 people who attended the SS Normandie presentation at the Polo Club of Boca Raton. This was our second time at the lovely club and we enjoy working with Kathleen Kelly, and her entire, very professional staff.

Finally, we returned to the ArtSmart series at the Kravis Center for Performing Arts for the 6thtime. However, this time we were in the much larger Rinker Theater! We are very honored and grateful for the trust Lee Bell and Keena Gumbinner continue to place in us, which has resulted in a return invitation next year. Our brand-new lecture will be presented in Persson Hall on March 31. This fresh lecture, titled All That Glitters Is Not Gold, the perils of being too rich, will be presented at the Kravis, and the Fellowship of Christians and Jews on December 8 at the Wells Fargo Bank in Palm Beach.DB3C9994-55AE-47D5-ACC3-71A1902DA7E0

This new presentation started out as an extension of René’s book I Survived Swiss Boarding Schoolsand will include numerous glamourous pictures and newsreels about well-known celebrities whose vast fortunes lead to internationally famous dramas, including murders, suicides and excesses in what René refers to as “affluenza.”  For more information please follow this link to its own webpage.

We have lined up 9 confirmed presentations for next season, and we have several more in the pipeline. We also have some other Silvin Books projects planned for the summer, including working with other author’s books to bring them to market and create Wikipedia pages for clients. We are getting ready to migrate back to Cape Cod, where we will switch into our creative mode and work on these exciting projects.

We wish everyone a wonderful summer, and I promise I will be more regular with blog updates again.

Warm regards,

Robert, Silvin Books



It’s been a while since I have posted a blog. Six weeks ago René announced he is running for a seat on the Palm Beach Town Council, and it has been very busy. However, this does not mean Silvin Books’ activities are on the back burner. Now that the end of 2018 is in sight, I want to look back at what we have accomplished, and review at what lies ahead.

We hosted 22 events in 2018, which included sold out lectures at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, successful presentations in Nantucket and the Berkshires, and a return to the Historical Society of Palm Beach County. Our Mar-a-Lagopresentation at times causes controversy for the venue planners, some of which are worried that the topic may be too polarizing. However, when we give the non-political lecture, we invariably draw sold out rooms.

 3C7FF288-811F-404A-BBBE-728A69A13975 At the Kravis last March

4CD80786-3308-40FD-8453-011AE571BA36 In Lenox, the Berkshires this summer

Over the summer René re-wrote, and I re-designed, his biography I survived Swiss Boarding Schools now with the new subtitle “All that glitters is not gold.” We have started working with a PR firm to get the book turned into a movie or mini-series. We will keep you updated on the progress of that effort.


Additionally, we redesigned the Duchess of Windsor lecture, rechristened “Noblesse Oblige; The Duchess of Windsor as I knew her,” mirroring the book title, and adding more of René’s personal relationship with the Duchess. With Netflix’ The Crownand the introduction of Meghan Marckle to the British Royal Family, this topic continues to be of great interest to audiences.

Cover of New Duchess book

The coming year we have already lined up an impressive string of presentations. René will present The history of transatlantic ocean liner travel-from necessity to glamour to recreation” at the Dixon Education Building of the Society of the Four Arts on January 21. The following month we will return to Oceanreef, where he will present the Mar-a-Lago lecture, which will be followed by the new Duchesslecture in René’s old stomping grounds of Key West. In March he will be back at the Kravis Center, this time in the Rinker Theater (which is already sold out!) Later in the year he will present at the Palm Beach Fellowship of Christians and Jews for the third time.

We keep plugging along. A plan is hatching to develop the accompanying presentation for the “Swiss boarding schools” book. We will let you know if that materializes, but there is already some interest for that topic from several venues.


As for now, a happy and healthy 2019!!! We hope to see many of you at our presentations. And remember, if you are a registered voter in Palm Beach: VOTE FOR RENÉ FOR TOWN COUNCIL ON MARCH 12!! Check out our campaign website for more information, or to donate or volunteer.


Written by Robert Versteeg, partner at Silvin Books & Productions.