Many are still in mourning for The Australian‘s Review of Books,
the literary monthly that first appeared in 1996 but closed down in
2001 after its upkeep proved too much for Rupert Murdoch, costing
around $750,000 a year to make.

But a revival could be in the pipeline, as reported by Susan Wyndham in The Sydney Morning Herald. And the project is said to be the baby of The Australian‘s
editor-in-chief, Chris Mitchell.

But if Rupert’s not forking out any more of his hard-earned cash, where will the funds come from?

Crikey heard a strong rumour that the
reincarnated mag would be funded for three years by the University of
Melbourne’s new Writing Centre for Scholars and Researchers, with
strong input from its director Simon Clews (former Director and CEO of The Age
Melbourne Writers’ Festival) and members of the Centre’s advisory
board, MUP CEO Louise Adler and Hilary McPhee.

But Mitchell was quick to pour water on this blazing tip off, telling Crikey that it was all speculative at the
moment
– from whether the new ARB would get off the ground to who would provide the
funding. Which didn’t really advance our knowledge from what we’d
already learnt in the SMH. Mitchell also told Susan Wyndham that “I can’t
confirm anything but I have been beavering away at it for 18 months and within a month or so I might have an answer.”

That said, Mitchell didn’t deny possible Melbourne University involvement
and mumbled something about plans to speak to the “Vice Chancellor” in greater detail.

We also spoke to Clews, who claims that while it’s not the first time he’s
heard the rumour, he knows nothing more about it than Crikey. Although he did say
that if the University is involved then he’d “like not to be passed over” for a job on it.