All We Knew But Couldn’t Say


Joanne Vannicola grew up in a violent home with a physically abusive father and a mother who had no sexual boundaries.

After Joanne is pressured to leave home at fourteen, encouraged by her mother to seek out an acting career, she finds herself in a strange city, struggling to cope with her memories and fears. She makes the decision to cut her mother out of her life, and over the next several years goes on to create a body of work as a successful television and film actor. Then, after fifteen years of estrangement, Joanne learns that her mother is dying. Compelled to reconnect, she visits with her, unearthing a trove of devastating secrets.

Joanne relates her journey from child performer to Emmy Award–winning actor, from hiding in the closet to embracing her own sexuality, from conflicted daughter and sibling to independent woman. All We Knew But Couldn’t Say is a testament to survival, love, and Joanne’s fundamental belief that it is possible to love the broken, and to love fully, even with a broken heart.

About the Author

Joanne Vannicola

Posted by KathrynB on August 21, 2018
Joanne Vannicola photo

Joanne Vannicola

Joanne Vannicola is an Emmy Award–winning actor who has worked in theatre, film, and television. As well as acting, she has written and produced several plays and developed screen projects. A fierce advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, she lives in Toronto.