Andrea Coller

I’m privileged to be part of a group of writers that meet up, a few times a year, for weekend retreats at the home of our fearless leader in Northampton. It’s that rare group where the friendly and sincere compliments that we give each other on our work aren’t, for the most part, just being polite. We like each other, and we like each other’s writing, and that’s a recipe for a good time, and for good friends: the kind of friends with whom you can spend a few weekends a year and feel like it’s been forever. In a good way.

A few retreats ago I met Andrea Coller, a writer, singer, songwriter, and all around swell person. She’s one of those artists, if I may throw the term around, who’s good enough to almost piss you off. You wonder, how did she get so good? Does she know how good she is? She can’t possibly, or she’d be much less pleasant to be around.

Several months ago, Andrea read us a short memoir piece that blew me away, and I wasn’t particularly surprised to learn that a longer version of it won Glamour Magazine’s non-fiction writing contest. Read it for yourself, and trust me when I tell you that everything I’ve ever heard that she’s written was this good.

No, go on. Read it.

It’s pretty nearly unutterably sad that Andrea died yesterday, at age 29. I was honored to have been able to partake of her talent and to claim her as a friend.

Update: Jennifer Weiner, one of the judges of the Glamour contest, blogs briefly about Andrea.

Andrea Coller

0 thoughts on “Andrea Coller

  1. Tom Stokowski says:

    Played a Pace a few times with Greg Alexander, Eric and so many others that Andrea brought together to share our individual talents. She will be missed.

    Maybe PACE could established some sort of permanence to Andrea for all her hard work. Maybe a marker on the side walk , a bench to sit outside anything like that would be nice.

    I hope the open mike continues, It is hard for me to think that she would not have wanted to see it go on.


  2. Matt,

    I don’t think we’ve met, but I’m part of the band Pesky J. Nixon, we routinely played with Andrea, more pertinent to this outside of music I was a good friend of Andrea’s. Thank you for the post. The writing group meant so much to Andrea, and I”m not speaking with anymore authority than seeing her get excited days before you all met.

    Tom, I don’t yet know what PACE is going to do, but the SAMFund is putting together an Andrea Coller Memorial Grant. The SAMFund is a foundation that raises money to help young adult cancer survivors as they move back into the world post treatment. If you want to learn more about the organization it is online at


  3. Melissa says:

    Thank you for this, Matt … our group means the world to me and it will never be quite the same without Andrea. I’m with K, we need facial tattoos, pronto.


  4. Julie says:

    Matt, thanks for pointing me toward this wrenching, awe-inspiring piece of writing. I’m so sorry for the loss to all the people who loved Andrea–and, of course, for what Andrea never had the chance to do, experience, and write about.


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