July/August 2020 Selection


All We Knew But Couldn’t Say

By Joanne Vannicola

Recommended by Diane Terrana

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 their mother is dying. Compelled to reconnect, they visit with her, unearthing a trove of devastating secrets.

Joanne relates their journey from child performer to Emmy Award-winning actor, from hiding in the closet to embracing their own sexuality, from conflicted child and sibling to independent adult. 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.

Vannicola is the chair of outACTRAto, the LGBTQ+ committee at ACTRA Toronto (union representing performers in the film, radio, television and new media industries), and sits on the sexual assault ad-hoc committee for women in film and television. Vannicola is the recipient of the Leslie Yeo award for volunteerism (2019), and the recipient of The Margaret Trudeau Advocacy Award (2020). Joanne founded the non-profit organization, Youth Out Loud, raising awareness about child abuse, sexual violence, and youth rights: www. youthoutloud.ca

All We Knew But Couldn’t Say was released in June 2019, was featured on the list of Top 21 memoirs to read last summer by Bustle magazine, and was featured on The Next Chapter by Shelagh Rogers, the Toronto Star, the Globe, CTV mornings, NOW Magazine, The Girly Club, and the Lambda Literary Reviews. It was also a best seller at Glad Day bookshop in Toronto and made the top 40 books to read in summer 2020 by CBC Books and shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for non-fiction 2020. They are currently co-developing a new series, and working on their second book, exploring themes of LGBTQI homelessness.

You can learn more at: www.joannevannicola.com
Or on Twitter or Instagram @joannevannicola