Presenting The Hal Prize

We are proud to announce the 2014 Hal Prize (previously called the Hal Grutzmacher’s Writers’ Expose and Photography Jubilee – but that was a mouthful.) The Hal Prize is open to writers of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and to photographers throughout the United States. Judges for each category include prestigious and professional authors and photographers including authors Heid E. Erdrich and Lesley Kagen and photographers Len Villano and Kelly Avenson.

The Hal Prize offers publication in the Peninsula Pulse’s annual Literary Issue, cash awards, a week stay at Write On, Door County, a class at Peninsula School of Art, and other prizes including a beautiful mug from Clay Bay Pottery, a gift certificate from Untitled Used & Rare Books, tickets from Peninsula Music Festival, Cross pens and pencils from Paper Work Plus, as well as gift certificates from Glas Coffeehouse, and Base Camp Coffee Bar.

Judging this year’s poetry contest is Heid E. Erdrich, author of four poetry collections, most recently Cell Traffic: New and Selected Poems. Her collection National Monuments received the 2009 Minnesota Book Award for Poetry. She is the author of Original Local: Indigenous Food Stories and Recipes from the Upper Midwest and teaches in the MFA creative writing program at Augsburg College.

Judging this year’s fiction contest is New York Times bestselling author Lesley Kagen, a Milwaukee native whose novels include Whistling in the Dark – which appeared on the American Booksellers list, Midwest Booksellers list, and won the Midwest Booksellers Book of the Year – Land of a Hundred Wonders, Tomorrow River, Good Graces, and Mare’s Nest.

The judges for this year’s photography contest include Len Villano and Kelly Avenson.

Photography Director for the Peninsula Pulse and Door County Living, Villano is also an artist, musician, recording engineer and producer, who left a promising career in architecture years ago to devote his life to capturing the beauty of nature on film.

Kelly Avenson, owner and photographer at Avenson Photography (located on Third Avenue in downtown Sturgeon Bay), specializes in real life and portraiture photography. Her work can be found in the pages of the Door County Advocate, the walls of Greco Gallery “an artistic boutique,” and many homes throughout the county, state and country. She was honored to be chosen for the Art of Photography Show in San Diego in 2010 along with being published in Budget Travel Magazine, National Geographic Kids and other publications throughout the country.

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

The Hal Prize is held in the spirit of the late Hal Grutzmacher, a professor and Door County bookstore owner, by offering commentary and encouragement to promising writers and photographers.

All submissions will be accepted digitally. The deadline for submission is Friday, June 27, 2014; the deadline for next year’s contest will be Friday, April 25, 2015.

For complete submission guidelines and to submit your creative work, visit

Email questions to [email protected].