Jared Davidson is an archivist, historian and writer based in Wellington, New Zealand. His work has appeared in The Guardian, Overland, History Workshop Journal, The Spinoff, Newsroom and other publications. His most recent book, Dead Letters, won the Bert Roth Award for Labour History and was longlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Award for General Non-Fiction. Jared is also the recipient of a Michael King Writers’ Residency and the Michael Standish Prize for best archival essay, while the co-authored He Whakaputanga – The Declaration of Independence won best secondary resource in education.
For his next book Jared is diving into the world of prisoners and prison labour. 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. Blood and Dirt: Prison Labour and the Making of New Zealand aims to explore prison labour from the Church Missionary Society’s use of convicts in 1814 to the state prison farms of the 1920s. You can read a chapter summary here.