Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Power Couples (Section 4); CAROLINE MICHEL & MATTHEW EVANSPublishing's Golden Coupl :She Beautiful, He Dapper; Together They Dominate the Literary establishment.But Who Dominates at home?THE AGENTS PROVOCATEURS

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Power Couples (Section 4); CAROLINE MICHEL & MATTHEW EVANSPublishing's Golden Coupl :She Beautiful, He Dapper; Together They Dominate the Literary establishment.But Who Dominates at home?THE AGENTS PROVOCATEURS

Article excerpt

Had there been a batch of bad oysters at the 1991 wedding of Caroline Michel to Matthew (now Lord) Evans, London's literary establishment might have been wiped out. The union of publishing's most glamorous publicist (wearing white Hardy Amies) to the then chairman of Faber and Faber was attended by Seamus Heaney, Harold Pinter, Ted Hughes, Salman Rushdie, Melvyn Bragg and Ruth and Richard Rogers. 'Just all our friends, really,' says Michel. We are in her office at the London outpost of William Morris, one of Hollywood's most powerful artists' agencies.

Michel, 48, who is managing director, is now an agent representing such big-hitting authors as crime writer Kathy Reichs. She is also on the board of the British Film Institute and on the Man Booker committee.

On this grey day, Michel cuts an almost incongruously glamorous figure in skimpy blue Chloe, atop a pair of steep heels. She has large brown eyes, fine bones and a feline allure. One can well believe that, as a young publicist, she made not waves but tsunamis in the fusty world of publishing.

Her background is a mix of the exotic and stolid: her ancestors are French Huguenots; her mother is from Yorkshire, and her father, Wolfgang Michel, is a German commodities broker who has done deals with dubious regimes such as Iraq and Iran, and in 2003 was implicated in Libya's offer of a cash injection to the Labour party in exchange for the lifting of sanctions (which was rejected).

At the age of seven, Michel was living in Zurich. Returning to England at nine, she was sent to a girls' boarding school in Surrey, and decided to study Sanskrit at Edinburgh after a family holiday in India. She started her career at Chatto, where she credits Carmen Callil with teaching her all about publicity. It is said that a short skirt she wore was the clincher in persuading Alan Clark to publish his diaries with Weidenfeld - even though she was only there for 24 hours before jumping ship to Bloomsbury. Then there were stints at Granta, Random House and HarperCollins before she was poached for her current post.

Matthew Evans, 65, had a rather more prosaic childhood in Suffolk. His father George was a staunch socialist who wrote a book entitled Ask the Fellows Who Cut the Hay and sent his son to a Quaker school. At 23, Matthew joined Faber and Faber and by the age of 30 had risen to be its MD.

A founder of the Groucho Club, he's also done stints on the Arts Council, the Royal Opera House and the British Council. In 2000, he was made a Labour peer and is now a government minister, spokesman for the Treasury and also for the Department of Constitutional Affairs. He is a silver fox, with a laidback charm that complements his wife's brilliance.

Spending time with the Evanses is entertaining but a little exhausting. As is often the way with sparkily devoted couples, they finish each other's sentences, interrupt, correct, applaud and rebuke each other constantly, which makes it hard to describe accurately who has said what.

The pair first met on a boat on the Thames in the early Eighties, at which the Thomas Cook travel award was being dished out. 'Liz Calder at Cape said, "Have you never met Matthew Evans?"' says Michel. 'I couldn't speak, I was dribbling too much.' 'You were wearing a black Chanel suit,' he says, gazing fondly at her. 'No, it was blue,' she raps back.

Any minute, they're going to burst into a chorus of 'Ah yes, I remember it well'.

Michel, by her own account, 'spent the next ten years dribbling' (Evans was already married) before they finally got it together in 1988, at another launch party. 'Matthew said to me, "I had a dream about you last night," and I said, "I dream about you every night, Matthew. …

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