2021 Hal Prize Winners Announced

The Peninsula Pulse has announced the recipients of the 2021 Hal Prize for writing and photography. This year’s honorees were selected from the largest field of submissions in the contest’s 24-year history. 

Of 874 submissions, 26 were selected as winners and honorable mentions for the 2021 Hal Prize. Those selections will be featured in a new publication, the 8142 Review, which is available for purchase here.

Roger Barr of St. Paul, Minnesota, won first place in the fiction category for his story, “Puzzle Pieces.” Fiction judge Lan Samantha Chang said, “This subtle and impressive piece meaningfully inhabits the complex territory of late life and terminal illness.”

George Harmon of Winnetka, Illinois, won first place in nonfiction for his story “the beast that ate words.” Nonfiction judge Faith Adiele said the story “is a breathless beast of an essay that reads like fiction.”

First place in poetry went to Steve Tomasko of Middleton, Wisconsin, for his poem “A Eulogy, of Sorts.” Poetry judge Mark Wunderlich said, “I admire the expansiveness of this poem, its open and conversational diction, and the emotional intelligence and acuity the poem embodies.”

Sharon Knight of Macomb, Illinois, earned first place in photography for her photo “Girl on the Train to London.” Photography judges Coburn Dukehart and Tad Dukehart noted, “This photo has all the elements of a striking portrait that draws the viewer into the composition and asks their eyes to linger as they absorb all the fine details of the scene.”

You can read all the top submissions for writing and savor the top photography selections in the 8142 Review. The 116-page book also features information about the Hal Prize’s premier sponsor, Write On, Door County, as well as an introduction to the 2022 judges: Joshua Philip Johnson (fiction), Adrian Matejka (poetry), Lars Topelmann (photography) and Angela Palm Hopkins (nonfiction). 

First-place winners in all four categories receive $250 and a Hal Prize mug from Clay Bay Pottery; second-place honorees receive $100; and third-place awardees receive $50.

The 8142 Review was supported in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Arts Board with funds from the state of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. The Hal Prize is presented by the Peninsula Pulse with Write On, Door County.

To find more information about the Hal Prize and news about the 2022 contest, visit

The 2021 Hal Prize: Winners and Honorable Mentions


First Place
“Puzzle Pieces” by Roger Barr

Second Place
“Captain’s Wafers Taste Like Cake” by Jenn Hollmeyer

Third Place
“Jewel Tea” by Kim Suhr

Honorable Mentions
“Coming or Going?” by Matt Cashion
“Up on the Farm” by Christina Reiss


First Place
“the beast that ate words” by George Harmon

Second Place
“Paper Guns” by Morgan Christie

Third Place
“Pre-existing Condition” by Valerie Fons

Honorable Mentions
“My Gramonster: A Love Story” by Kierstin Bridger
“Churning” by Christy Schwan


First Place
“A Eulogy, of Sorts” by Steve Tomasko

Second Place
“Life Expectancy” by Joan Wiese Johannes

Third Place
“Poem for Your Self-Esteem” by Jean Prokott

Honorable Mentions
“Curling Hair While Watching Shindig” by Catherine Young
“Empire Ranch” by Dawn Hogue
“Haircut” by Tori Gran Welhouse
“it’s a red sky morning, and” by Ralph Murre
“Monday Afternoon” by Allison Thorpe


First Place
“Girl on the Train to London” by Sharon Knight

Second Place
“Follow the Leader” by Mike Burman

Third Place
“Long Story” by Marie Rakoczy

Honorable Mentions
“Day of the Dead March” by J. Michael Chiaverina
“The Collector” by Dan Cross
“Seven Chairs” by Sue Perse
“Barn and Bikes” by Evie Weber
“Ecstasy” by David Heilman

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