About

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An archivist by day and author by night, Jared Davidson is an award-winning writer based in Wellington, New Zealand. His work has appeared in The Guardian, Overland, History Workshop Journal, The Spinoff, Newsroom and other publications. Dead Letters won the Bert Roth Award for Labour History, was shortlisted for the W.H. Oliver Prize for best book on any aspect of New Zealand history and long-listed for the Ockham New Zealand Book Award for General Non-Fiction.

Jared has just finished writing his latest book on the unfree work of prisoners. Forced labour haunts the streets we walk and the spaces we take for granted, weaving its way through every major urban centre, across the pastured grasslands of heartland New Zealand and into Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa, the Pacific. Yet it is a story that is largely unknown. Combining social and environmental history with narrative nonfiction, Blood and Dirt: Prison Labour and the Making of New Zealand (forthcoming in early 2023 with BWB Bridget Williams Books) explores prison labour from the Church Missionary Society’s use of convicts in 1814 to the state prison farms of the 1920s, including New Zealand’s Pacific.

Photo by Mark Beatty

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