An archivist by day and author by night, Jared Davidson is a writer based in Lower Hutt, Aotearoa New Zealand. His work has appeared in Overland, The Guardian, History Workshop, Radical Futures, Labour History, The Spinoff 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 longlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Award for General Non-Fiction. He is currently the Research Librarian Manuscripts at the Alexander Turnbull Library, and was a judge for the 2023 Ockham New Zealand Book Awards (Booksellers NZ Award for Illustrated Nonfiction).

Jared’s latest book is about the unfree work of prisoners. Combining social and environmental history, Blood and Dirt: Prison Labour and the Making of New Zealand (forthcoming in August 2023 with 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 Hagen Hopkins