photo by Scott Davis

Biography

Lloyd Spencer Davis was born in Napier, New Zealand. He went to universities in Wellington and Christchurch before heading overseas to do his PhD at the University of Alberta in Canada. In 1985, he moved to Dunedin, New Zealand, and still calls it home. He is both a proponent and practitioner of creative nonfiction writing and his books to date are distinguished by the unique perspectives he puts on them.

His first book, Penguin: a season in the life of the Adélie penguin, received the PEN (NZ) Best First Book Award for Nonfiction. The Plight of the Penguin, was the New Zealand Children's Book of the Year in 2002, as well as the winner of the nonfiction category at the same awards. Looking for Darwin, received a CLL Writer's Award – New Zealand's most significant award for the support of nonfiction – and the Runner’s Up Award as the New Zealand Travel Book of the Year in 2008.

His book, Smithsonian Q&A Penguins, has been commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution and aims to provide a complete story on penguins in the form of questions and answers, which Lloyd has artfully arranged so that one answer typically leads to the next question – allowing the book to be read from cover to cover, rather like a novel, while still functioning as a reference book. New Zealand really is the penguin capital of the world and his book, Penguins of New Zealand (with photographs by Rod Morris), concentrates on the species of penguins found in New Zealand's territorial waters. His book with Martin Renner, entitled simply, Penguins, covers the biology of all penguins. He was also the senior editor of the landmark textbook about penguins entitled, Penguin Biology.

Certainly, penguins feature large in Lloyd's writing and life, and his book Professor Penguin: discovery and adventure with penguins, tracks Lloyd's involvement with penguins over three-and-a-half decades.

He also writes essays for magazines like Natural History and newspapers like the Star Sunday Times: his topics usually involve nature or science and his approach is often very personal.

In addition to being a writer, Lloyd Spencer Davis is also an award-winning scientist, photographer, and filmmaker. He currently holds the Stuart Chair in Science Communication at the University of Otago where, among other things, he teaches creative nonfiction writing and science communication.