Who We Are

Patricia Tennison

lives in Chicago and Paris.

She is a veteran features and news writer, movie editor, and restaurant reviewer for the Chicago Tribune and Chicago magazine, author of James Beard Award-honored cookbooks, and an adjunct professor of writing at National Louis University in Chicago.

She received her bachelor’s degree in English literature and French from Boston University, and her master’s degree in English literature from Boston College.

Too stuffy? Add tap dancing and stints as a movie extra thisclose (!) to Johnny Depp and Laurence Fishburne.

Patricia Tennison

Joseph Prendergast

lives in Chicago and Paris.

He taught writing and poetry in Chicago-area public schools and is the recipient of several National Endowment for the Humanities grants for teaching.

He studied poetry for five years with Molly Daniels in the Clothesline Creative Writing School in Chicago, and his poems have appeared in The American Cowboy Poetry Magazine, Father Gander Rhymes, Storyhead, RiverSedge, Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, and The Evansville Review.

Joseph took a sabbatical from baguettes and cheese to teach English for three years in China. He now has returned to Paris Café Writing.

Note: It may seem un-French, but, yes, Joseph and Patricia are married. Happily.

Joe Prendergast at Seminary Co-op, Chicago


“Paris Café Writing was absolutely amazing. It’s such a creative city! I could have sat and written in a café from morning till night and been perfectly content. My cousin Lisa went with me and we did some great sigh-seeing  as well. Hands down, Patty is one of my favorite people and instructors. I would do it again in a heartbeat!”

Sarah L.

Naperville, Illinois

“I attended the program last year and found it very useful and enjoyable. I am working on a short story set in Paris and hope to continue working on it during this next Paris Café Writing workshop."

Julie W.

Parlin, New Jersey

“Paris Café Writing is a double whammy. In the mornings, you walk to a local cafe where Patty leads you through writing exercises that are fun, nurturing and insightful. At night, you go to a fabulous restaurant, picked with her discerning eye for quality food. With a group of only eight, PCW offers an intimate experience with Paris. When we found out about PCW Part II, we signed up right away.” 

Pam R.

Glenview, Illinois

“The Paris Café Writing workshop experience exceeds every expectation I ever could have had for it. It was more than a writing workshop; it was a new way of life, for seven full days, filled with inspiration, new ideas, endless good food, and great company.... Patty is an extraordinary, gifted teacher.”

Thérèse H.

Alexandria, Virginia
“It was glorious. You have a true gift for teaching. I think many of us were there searching for something that was missing from our writing lives; you helped us find it … You and Joe certainly were the most gracious hosts a visitor to Paris could have!”

Cheryl M.

Lima, Ohio

“I cannot thank you enough for the gift that you gave to my mom and me. It was the writing class you so skillfully coached and it was so much more. You shared your passion for the food, the wine, the city and especially the people of Paris. It is an experience that is now imprinted on my heart and soul. I cherish it. You have touched my life.”

Pam D.

Wilmette, Illinois

“Paris Café Writing was a bit life altering. Paris is a little like that anyway, but Patricia Tennison made it a great deal more so in many ways. Her program is well designed and she has a sharp, analytical writer's eye. Patricia created a special seven-day experience through her choices of cafes and other venues to sharing lesser known bits of Paris and the fabulous Marais district. Her teaching techniques were subtle but remarkably effective. I wish I had spent seven days like this in Paris a long time ago!”

Marsha E.

Calgary, Canada

“To say the whole thing exceeded my expectations would be an understatement.  Patty had everything organized and planned so beautifully, the perfect mix of structured and free time. She is so at home in and with Paris that you feel all your anxieties just melt away—very supportive and encouraging with the writing and with the culture.”

Jan P.

West Peoria, Illinois

“The Paris Café Writing Workshop was more than I'd anticipated! Patricia Tennison's method of conducting the workshop was inventive and inspiring. The interaction of the participants was an added benefit. The extracurricular activities Patricia offered, including exquisite cuisine francaise, jazz extraordinaire, and ambiance that can only be found in the City of Light, were beyond compare.”

George S.

Santa Fe, New Mexico

“This week has been far better than my wildest expectations. I'm now ready to tackle the dream of many years: putting all my adventurous stories on paper. Your course not only stimulated me, but made me feel that I truly have potential in the world of creative writing. Merci beaucoup!"

Sylva E.

Takoma Park, Maryland

“It was a unique, stimulating, challenging, and fun workshop! Patty is generous and had a lot to offer from beginning to end. It was very different from anything I have done and I can imagine doing it again.”

Tara R.

Sebastopol, California

“Thanks again to you and Joe for an experience that far exceeded anything I had imagined. I will definitely be back!”

Jennifer O.

Volo, Illinois

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