In the storytelling style of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, an unforgettable story of an abandoned child, a search for a mother, and the uncovering of a national scandal in 1930s' Ireland.
'Truth telling and truth recovery have seldom been as heart-breaking or necessary as in this powerful story of human vulnerability and failure - and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.' JOE DUFFY
At only five months old, John Cameron was abandoned in a Dublin orphanage, and fostered out as a child labourer by
age three. In 1944 when he turned eight, he was incarcerated in Artane Industrial School, where he became boy 11963.
Now in his mid-eighties, John Cameron tells his shocking but inspirational story for the first time. As a child, reduced to a number, he survived savage assaults, sexual abuse and the tragic deaths of children around him. Along with other forgotten boys, he battled for his life against the heartless adversity of the church and the Irish state.
As a young man - a much-loved schoolteacher devoted to his growing family - John was haunted by his unknown past and embarked on a lifelong quest to unravel the truth about his origins. Buried in a labyrinth of lies, he finally uncovered a story of forbidden love and passion that scandalised rural Ireland and made national headlines in the 1930s.
Boy 11963 is a unique account of overcoming almost insurmountable obstacles to find out who you truly are.
'Truth telling and truth recovery have seldom been as heart-breaking or necessary as in this powerful story of human vulnerability and failure - and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.' - Joe Duffy
A story that needed to be told - Irish Independent
One of the biggest and most pleasant surprises of my reading life ... a truly unique life story ... [a] well-written, well-paced account of [John Cameron's] exceptional life - Irish Times
Beautiful - The Gloss
John Cameron overcame tragic beginnings to become a respected school teacher, working for over thirty-five years in West Dublin.
Now 85, he lives at home in Gorey with his wife of 58 years, Treasa. He has five grown-up children and five grandchildren and likes nothing more than having the family sitting around the kitchen table.
Having developed Parkinson's Disease with Lewy body dementia in recent years, John lives a quiet but contented life. He enjoys spending time with his grandchildren, tinkering in his work shed, and volunteering his woodworking and crafting expertise in the local Men's Sheds Association.
Boy 11963, the story of John's early life and his search for his origins, is his first book.