Official Author Site
On shelves in 2019

“Stark. Unflinchingly honest and filled with a type of determination that is seen in LGBTQ people who want more than just survival.”

  - Roland Emmerich,

     Director, Producer 

“Joanne Vannicola weaves a compelling narrative about hardship, survival, and resilience that reminds all of us about the enduring importance of forgiveness, family acceptance, and love.”

  • Sarah Kate Ellis, President & CEO, GLAAD

"Joanne Vannicola's ALL WE KNEW BUT COULDN'T SAY is

     good, honest and powerful, and probably -- no,

            definitely-- going to save someone's life."

                     -Norm Wilmer, NOW magazine 


Joanne Vannicola is an Emmy award-winning Canadian actor and writer, who has been working in film, television, and theatre since she was eight years old. She has also been nominated for a Genie, a Gemini, an ACTRA award, and received the Leslie Yeo award for volunteerism on June 3rd, 2019. 

Joanne is a long-time advocate for the LGBTQ community and has an essay in the anthology Cuarenta y Nueve, a book by 49 artists for the 49 victims of the Orlando Pulse club massacre. She is the Chair of the first LGBTQ+ committee for the actors union, ACTRA, and sits on the sexual assault ad-hoc committee at ACTRA for women in film and television.

She is a recipient of the Ontario Arts Council Grant in 2016—Writer’s Works in Progress for her memoir. Joanne was selected for the Diaspora Dialogues Program in 2013 and worked with author David Layton for six months. 

Joanne founded the non-profit organization, Youth Out Loud, between 2004-2009, to raise awareness about child abuse and sexual violence.  To learn more about Youth Out Loud, please visit:

Equity issues have always been at the forefront of Joanne’s work both in her artistic world and in her personal/political life and she is very passionate about youth, women,  and LGBTQ equity and rights.

All We Knew But Couldn't Say is her first book.

For more information on her film career, you can visit:



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


After being pressured to leave home at fourteen, and 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 the belief that it is possible to love the broken, and to love fully, even with a broken heart.



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In Depth Radio,

Newstalk 1010,

House Of Crouse

"What you need to know about “All We Knew But Couldn’t Say” is how brilliantly Joanne Vannicola says what couldn’t be said. She writes about mayhem and emotional violence with such precision that it’s like becoming mesmerized by a tornado moving directly towards you. Becoming an actor may have been Joanne Vannicola’s first step in avoiding the path of destructive forces heading her way. But it’s her writing that feels like a storm contained. This is a story you won’t soon forget." 

      -David Layton, Author

"Joanne unsparingly walks us through her childhood. From her abusive parents and a harrowingly self-destructive adolescence to an against all odds success as a performer. We anxiously cheer on that spark of joy in her that not only refuses to be snuffed out but flourishes to awareness and grace. I tore through this book in a fury, astounded by her resilience and inspired by her unerring belief in the power of love.”

     - Wendy Crewson, Actor, Producer

“Jo Vannicola’s memoir is shocking, upsetting and occasionally graphic, yet what sets it apart from other similar accounts is an underlying sense of optimism. Out of despair there has emerged a beautifully written account, where the author has not only come through the tribulations of her early life, but become a leading voice for the overlooked and the marginalised. I cannot recommend it enough."

-Linda Riley

In this moving memoir, Joanne Vannicola writes herself--and so many of us who have experienced oppression and trauma--onto the page. As a writer, I enjoyed her beautiful, well-paced and evocative storytelling. As a therapist and survivor, I found myself pausing and nodding as she articulated so well her deep and layered understandings of trauma and marginalization. Throughout, I found myself rooting for and cheering on the young girl, actor, activist, and woman of this story.

--Farzana Doctor

This frank, sometimes harrowing, always inspiring memoir should be mandatory reading for all-- for those afraid of being true to themselves or anyone who needs a hero who demonstrates that demonstrates what personal courage and determination can do. PLEASE READ THIS BOOK!
--Colin Mochrie

Comedian and Actor

“Joanne writes the way she lives— with heart and hope and honesty. A must read."
-Helen Shaver 

"I am completely gutted by reading Joanne's beautifully penned heart wrenching memoir. When every important relationship that shapes us is broken and lacking in nurturing love it stands as a testament to the power of becoming whole. Raw, unflinching, brave and important, it makes me grateful to know that a voice with this power and honesty is sharing her truth with us all."

      -Cynthia Dale


Feminist Bookclub podcast 


Lez Represent Podcast


Where I'm going

Please scroll down to see upcoming events, readings, and more.

March 8th, 2020, International Women's Day at Artscape, Toronto. 

March 9th, 2020, at Ryerson University with Judy Rebick. 

March 30th, 2020, at Another Story Bookshop with Diane Terrana.

April 18th, and 19th, 2020, at Grit Lit Festival in Hamilton, ON. 

April 28th, 2020, Margaret Trudeau Advocacy Awards and fundraiser.

Please click on linked images to learn more:

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The next Chapter


Shelagh Rogers

on CBC Radio One

Feb, 1st, 2020,

4:30 -5:00 PM

International Women's Day

March 8th, 2020

Reading from memoir

International Women's Day

March 9th, 2020

with Judy Rebick and Joanne Vannicola


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Another Story

Book Shop

Event and reading

with authors 

Diane Terrana


Joanne Vannicola

March 30th, 2020


Grit Lit Festival, Hamilton

April 16-19, 2020

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Margaret Trudeau Advocacy Awards
April 28th, 2020
Bram and Bluma Appel Salon, 2nd Floor Toronto Reference Library

Where I've been:

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Please join the mailing list for upcoming info and events:



For any media, press, or publicity inquiries, please contact

publicist Daniel Shehori:



For speaking engagements, requests, and inquiries, please contact

manager Gayle Abrams:


or Daniel Shehori

For literary inquiries, please contact literary agent Sam Hiyate at the Rights Factory:

For publisher information and inquiries, please contact Dundurn Press:

500-3 Church Street
Toronto ON M5E 1M2
Tel: 416 214-5544
Media and blogger review copies
Author appearances and interviews
Award submissions
Cover image requests

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