Fourteen: My year of darkness, and the light that followed
Date: March 2020
Duration: 8 hours 3 minutes
Optioned for a major film, Fourteen is this generation’s Holding the Man – a moving coming-of-age memoir about a young man’s search for identity and acceptance in the most unforgiving and hostile of places: high school.
This is a story about my fourteenth year of life as a gay kid at an all-boys rugby-mad Catholic school in regional Queensland. It was a year in which I started to discover who I was, and deeply hated what was revealed. It was a year in which I had my first crush and first devastating heartbreak. It was a year of torment, bullying and betrayal – not just at the hands of my peers, but by adults who were meant to protect me.
And it was a year that almost ended tragically.
I found solace in writing and my budding journalism; in a close-knit group of friends, all growing up too quickly together; and in the fierce protection of family and a mother’s unconditional love. These were moments of light and hilarity that kept me going.
As much as Fourteen is a chronicle of the enormous struggle and adversity I endured, and the shocking consequences of it all, it’s also a tale of survival.
Because I did survive.
Longlisted for the 2021 ABIA Biography Book of the Year
‘Teenagers should read this book, parents should read this book. Human beings, above all, should read this book.’ Rick Morton bestselling author of One Hundred Years of Dirt
‘I love this book … a beautifully written account of a young man struggling with his sexuality, overcoming shocking abuse and finding his way to pride.’ Peter FitzSimons, bestselling author
‘Shannon is unflinching in recounting the horror, but he is also funny, empathetic and, above all, full of courage.’ Bridie Jabour, author of The Way Things Should Be
‘A slice of life as experienced quite recently in the “lucky country”.’ The Hon Michael Kirby, AC CMG
‘Shannon's bitter struggle is painfully recognisable and happening in playgrounds around the world. But he not only triumphs, he relives his past using his best weapon: beautiful words.’ Australian Women’s Weekly
‘A stunning memoir about heartbreak and acceptance … a unique, hilarious and bittersweet insight into the heart of a boy, the courage of survival, and the fierce love of a mother.’ Frances Whiting, Courier Mail
‘Australia hasn’t changed all that much from what Shannon describes in Fourteen. Marriage equality isn’t the end; there is still such a long way to go, and books like this are an important part of that journey.’ FIVE STARS. Good Reading
‘Intensely raw and incredibly moving.’ OUTinPerth
'A book in which many will undoubtably see themselves and take solace' The Age