Announcing the 2019 Hal Prize Judges

The Peninsula Pulse newspaper is pleased to announce the judges of the 2019 Hal Prize contest in poetry, prose and photography. They are photographer Tytia Habing; author, educator and artist Thomas Pecore Weso; poet Ira Sukrungruang; and novelist Cynthia Swanson.

Conducted annually since 1998, the Peninsula Pulse’s Hal Prize seeks to encourage and honor artistic expression in various literary forms and photography.

The contest offers publication in the Peninsula Pulse’s annual Literary Issue, which reaches a readership of 18,000. Cash awards of up to $150, a week’s stay at Write On, Door County (a literary retreat in the heart of the Door Peninsula), a class at Peninsula School of Art (a nationally recognized, year-round destination for artists and art appreciators), and other prizes will be awarded.

The Hal Prize is presented in collaboration with Write On, Door County, a nonprofit organization that promotes writing and reading to year-round and seasonal residents in the county.

The deadline for entry is Wednesday, May 1, 2019. All submissions will be accepted digitally. To review the complete submission guidelines and submit your creative work, visit

Tytia Habing

Tytia Habing is a self-taught photographer who lives and works in Watson, Illinois, near where she grew up on a working farm. She spent most of her adult life in the Cayman Islands and moved back to Illinois a few years ago. Her work focuses on family and the Midwest, with nature being the thread that ties it all together. Her work has been exhibited internationally and is part of both public and private collections. Most notably, her work has been featured on CNN and was short-listed for the 2015 Black and White Photographer of the Year, Critical Mass 2015, LEAD Awards 2016 and Head On Photo Awards 2017.

Thomas Pecore Weso

Thomas Pecore Weso, an enrolled member of the Menominee Indian Nation of Wisconsin, is an educator, writer and artist. Good Seeds: A Menominee Indian Food Memoir was a finalist for the international Gourmand Award and a national Gourmand Award recipient in the category of Historical Recipes. Weso is co-author of Langston Hughes in Lawrence and articles, reviews and personal essays in Muckleshoot Review, Yellow Medicine Review, Native Literatures: Generations, Overland Review and others. He holds a master’s degree in indigenous studies from the University of Kansas and teaches social sciences at Kansas City [Kansas] Community College. He is also a speaker in the Talk about Literature in Kansas program at Humanities Kansas.

Ira Sukrungruang

Ira Sukrungruang is the author of the memoirs Southside Buddhist and Talk Thai: The Adventures of Buddhist Boy, the short story collection The Melting Season and the poetry collection In Thailand It Is Night. He is the co-editor of two anthologies about obesity: What Are You Looking At? The First Fat Fiction Anthology and Scoot Over, Skinny: The Fat Nonfiction Anthology. He is the recipient of the 2015 American Book Award, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Nonfiction Literature, an Arts and Letters Fellowship and the Emerging Writer Fellowship. His work has appeared in many literary journals, including Post Road, The Sun and Creative Nonfiction. He is one of the founding editors of Sweet: A Literary Confection and teaches in the MFA program at the University of South Florida.

Cynthia Swanson is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of The Bookseller, which is soon to be a motion picture starring Julia Roberts. An Indie Next selection and the recipient of the 2016 WILLA Award for Historical Fiction, The Bookseller is being translated into 18 languages. Her second novel, The Glass Forest, is partly set in Door County and was released from Touchstone/Simon & Schuster in 2018. Swanson lives with her family in Denver.

Related Organizations