Tag: The Hal Prize

The Hal Prize is presented by the Peninsula Pulse, Door County’s independent source for news, arts, literature, and entertainment; and Write On, Door County, a nonprofit writing center and writers’ residency program.

The Hal Prize – originally the Hal Grutzmacher’s Writers Expose and Photography Jubilee – was established in 1998 by David Eliot and Tom McKenzie, co-founders of the Peninsula Pulse.

The contest was created to encourage and appreciate artistic expression through various literary forms and photography. The contest has showcased works from individuals of all ages and backgrounds – novice writers and photographers to professionals.

The Hal Prize offers prizes and publication in four categories: Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and photography. Each year, judges of differing areas of expertise are chosen to read through the entries and select a first, second and third place, along with honorable mentions.

Starting in 2021, winners of the Hal Prize are printed in the new literary journal, 8142 Review.

Read more about past contests, judges and more below! Visit for announcements regarding the contest and sign up for the Hal Prize newsletter.

  • 2020 Hal Prize Nonfiction Winners

    2020 Nonfiction Judge David McGlynn, Nonfiction David McGlynn is the author of three books: One Day You’ll Thank Me: Lessons from an Unexpected Fatherhood, A Door in the Ocean and a story collection, The End of the Straight and Narrow, which were all published by Counterpoint Press. A Door in the Ocean was reviewed on […]

  • 2020 Hal Prize Fiction Winners

    2020 Fiction Judge Jane Hamilton, Fiction Best-selling author Jane Hamilton lives, works and writes in an orchard farmhouse in Wisconsin. Her short stories have appeared in Harper’s magazine. Her first novel, The Book of Ruth, earned the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel and was a selection of the Oprah Book Club. Her […]

  • Questions & Authors: Jane Hamilton

    If you’ve ever been caught up in a novel and read 100 pages without feeling like any time has passed, you know the power novels can have. Here, Jane Hamilton – the 2020 Hal Prize fiction judge and the internationally bestselling author of The Book of Ruth, A Map of the World and The Excellent […]

  • Questions & Authors: David McGlynn

    The line, “The houses we grow up in have ways of not only containing our childhoods but defining them: They’re the stages of our earliest, most primal memories, and from them we each derive our idiosyncratic conceptions of home” struck me the first time I read it. It’s from David McGlynn’s One Day You’ll Thank […]

  • Q&A with 2020 Hal Prize Judge Coburn Dukehart

    Unlike most of the recent Hal Prize judges, 2020 photography judge Coburn Dukehart has a history in Door County – a family history. One of her great-grandfathers began coming to Door County in the 1900s, and Ephraim has ever since been her family’s spot – both as a place to vacation and to retire. Dukehart’s path […]

  • Peninsula Publishing to Publish Literary Journal ‘8142 Review’

    In 1998, Tom McKenzie and David Eliot established The Hal Prize contest – originally called Hal Grutzmacher’s Writers Exposé and Photography Jubilee – to celebrate literary creativity. “Back in 1995, David Eliot and I envisioned the Peninsula Pulse as a mash-up of some of our favorite contemporary publications – The Village Voice, Chicago Reader, Interview, The Onion, […]

  • Announcing the 2020 Hal Prize Judges

    The judges of the Peninsula Pulse’s 2020 Hal Prize contest in poetry, prose and photography will be Coburn Dukehart, digital and multimedia director for the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism; novelist Jane Hamilton; author and Lawrence University professor David McGlynn; and poet Ed Bok Lee. Conducted annually since 1998, the Hal Prize seeks to encourage […]

  • Pulse Cover v20i31 Hal Prize Cover lit issue

    2014 Hal Prize Winners

    Photography First Place: Photography by Sadie Weber Judge’s comments: What I liked about this image is exactly what I look for when photographing:  an interesting subject, strong composition and great light. This image has all three. The water line leads you into the photo and with the mountain range in the background produces a three-dimensional […]

  • 2018 Hal Prize Winners

    Many creative endeavors begin with bravery and hope. The Hal Prize is no different. For me, the contest always starts with the bravery and hope of submitters. It takes bravery for writers and photographers – both experienced and amateur – to offer up their work for critique and judgment. When you create something, you show […]

  • 2019 Hal Prize Winners

    Photography First Place: “Sea the Reflection” by Leena Meyers  Judge’s comments: I love everything about this photograph! The colors, the composition, the subject matter, and I love the awe and wonder on the child’s face. The focus is also spot-on, and the light in the image makes your eyes go straight to the child’s eye and […]

  • Q&A with the 2019 Hal Prize Judges

    We had the opportunity to talk with the 2019 judges for the Hal Prize in Literature and Photography – Tytia Habing (photography), Cynthia Swanson (fiction), Ira Sukrungruang (poetry) and Thomas Pecore Weso (nonfiction) – about their art. Peninsula Pulse (PP): When did you know you wanted to be a writer or photographer? Cynthia Swanson (CS): I […]

  • Hal Prize Q&A: 2018 Hal Prize Fiction Winner

    Since 1998, the Peninsula Pulse has been memorializing Hal Grutzmacher through our Hal Prize contest in literature, prose and photography. The contest brings in accomplished writers and photographers to judge the hundreds of submissions from the community and beyond. The deadline to submit work for the 2019 Hal Prize is May 1. Visit to […]

  • Hal Prize Deadline Is May 1

    The Peninsula Pulse proudly presents the 2019 Hal Prize. Awarded annually since 1998, the mission of the Hal Prize is to encourage and appreciate artistic expression in various literary forms and photography. The competition offers publication in the Peninsula Pulse’s annual Literary Issue, reaching a readership of 18,000. Prizes include cash awards of up to […]

  • 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 […]

  • Announcing the 2019 Hal Prize Contest

    The Peninsula Pulse newspaper proudly presents the 2019 Hal Prize. Conducted annually since 1998, the mission of the Peninsula Pulse’s Hal Prize is to encourage and appreciate artistic expression through various literary forms and photography. The contest has showcased works from individuals of all ages and backgrounds — novice writers and photographers to professionals. The […]

  • Hal Prize for Poetry, 1st Place, Pareidolia

    Judge’s Comments “This lovely sestina inhabits the form with an unusual naturalness for such a demanding form. A quiet meditation on the nature of fear, ‘Pareidolia’ considers the role of the imagination in both feeding and calming human fear, in a skillful and compelling voice.” – Leslie Miller Pareidolia by Steve Tomasko “We find human […]

  • The Hal Prize At 21

    The Hal Prize issue you hold in your hands marks the 21st year that the Peninsula Pulse has coordinated and published this annual contest. And each year, when this issue rolls around, I am amazed at how the contest has grown and, in some ways, surprised that it continues to thrive and flourish. Rather than […]

  • Questions & Authors: Cynthia Swanson

    The Glass Forest, the second novel from bestselling author Cynthia Swanson, opens on the water of North Bay in Baileys Harbor, circa 1960. The protagonist, Angie Glass, is taking her infant son out in a canoe for an early morning autumn paddle. It’s the most calm moment in the novel. Past the first page, the […]

  • Questions & Authors: Hal Prize Poetry Judge Leslie Adrienne Miller

    When Leslie Adrienne Miller was an undergraduate at Missouri’s Stephens College in the ‘70s, she met various poets and writers who visited the women’s-only college for readings and residencies. Among them were Margaret Atwood and Adrienne Rich. It was a special time in Miller’s life. A budding poet, hearing those women share relatable poems and […]

  • Questions & Authors: Hal Prize Judge José Rodríguez

    Mexico-born writer José Antonio Rodríguez got his literary start penning poetry, but it is nonfiction which he will judge in the Peninsula Pulse’s 2018 Hal Prize photo, poetry and prose contest. Rodríguez is a native of Mexico who was raised in south Texas. A poet, memoirist and translator, his work has appeared in The New […]