Treason of the Heart: From Thomas Paine to Phil Kilby book cover

Treason of the Heart:
From Thomas Paine to Kim Philby

By David Pryce-Jones
Published by Encounter Books (NY)

This campaign also involved organising the book launch at Daunt’s bookshop in Marylebone. I managed the event from start to finish; including fixing the date, deciding the evening’s format, inviting guests and coordinating numbers, looking after canapés and drinks…

Treason of the Heart is an account of British people who took up foreign causes and were ready to betray their country for these ideals. Some of the characters in the book are Lord Byron and Frank Abney Hastings – both animated with Philhellene zeal; David Urquhart (who supported the Ottomans’ cause); Elizabeth Barrett Browning (a fervent admirer of Garibaldi); some prominent Arabists – Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (who coined the term) T.E. Lawrence and Gertrude Bell; and the Communist spies Guy Burgess and Kim Philby…

The challenge

Promote a historical book with a rather unusual structure – each chapter described a different ‘zealot’ – written by an author well-known in his own field but not by the public at large. In a world obsessed by celebrity this wasn’t a mean feat!

The solution

Be creative both in the press release’s blurb and in finding media angles for different stories. Work closely with the author to make the most of his personal media contacts.

The result

David Pryce-Jones was interviewed both by BBC Radio 4 (Start the Week programme) and BBC Radio 3 (Night Waves). Treason of the Heart was also reviewed in The Daily Telegraph (circ. 472K), The Mail on Sunday (circ. 1,388,059) and the London Evening Standard (circ. 898K+) featured a ‘picture story’ based on the book’s launch. The leading literary and current affairs media such as The Literary Review and The Spectator also covered the book.