The Year In Literature 2023

2023 Hal Prize

2023 marked the 26th year of the Hal Prize. This year’s writing and photography submissions were judged by Toya Wolfe for fiction, Edward McPherson for nonfiction, Sean Hill for poetry and Allen Morris for photography. 

2022 Hal Prize First-place Winners

Fiction: “Newlyweds in Front of a Lilac Bush” by Victoria Lynn Smith

Nonfiction: “Angelsong” by Dr. Shaun Melarvie

Poetry: “The Daughter Laments” by Lisa Vihos

Photography: “$n@¢K/t!m£ (i said hi)” by Samantha Olschan

OtherWorlds co-owner Margaret Magle (front left) stands in front of her bookstore. File photo by Grace Johnson.

OtherWorlds Turns Five

OtherWorlds co-owner Margaret Magle (front left) stands in front of her bookstore. File photo by Grace Johnson.

OtherWorlds Books and More celebrated its five-year anniversary during Sturgeon Bay’s Fire and Ice Festival this February.

The Sheets Reunite

Collectively, members of poetry group The Sheets have published more than a dozen books and earned numerous accolades for their writing, with two members serving as Wisconsin’s poet laureate. Having initially formed in the late ‘90s, the group reunited at Write On, Door County in February to read and discuss poetry.

Davises Named Door County Poets Laureate 

Ethel Mortenson Davis and Tom Davis. File photo by D.A. Fitzgerald.

The Door County Board of Supervisors appointed Ethel Mortenson Davis and Tom Davis to the position of Door County poets laureate for a two-year term, beginning this April. The Door County couple succeeded the 2021-23 poet laureate, Mike Orlock.

Indigenous Poets Gather for In-Na-Po Retreat

Kimberly Blaeser. File photo by D.A. Fitzgerald.

Sixteen Indigenous poetry fellows from 12 tribal nations gathered in Door County this April for the second annual In-Na-Po: the Indigenous Nations Poets mentoring retreat. Founded by former Wisconsin poet laureate Kimberly Blaeser (Anishinaabe,) In-Na-Po is a new organization dedicated to mentoring emerging Native writers.

School Arts Publications Celebrate Student Creativity 

Southern Door students work hard in a creative-writing class. File photo by Rachel Lukas.

Across the peninsula, high schoolers compiled their best art in school arts publications, including Sturgeon Bay’s The Clipper Collection, Sevastopol’s Pioneer Pennings and Southern Door’s Borderlands. 

John Maggitti Shares Stories

John Maggitti. File photo.

John Maggitti, cofounder of Novel Bay Booksellers in Sturgeon Bay, passed away in April after a short struggle with brain cancer. A month before his passing, he spoke with art freelancer Tom Groenfeldt about what he did before Novel Bay, including his time disarming nuclear weapons in the Navy.

Island Literary Fest Spotlights Five Female Authors

Five women authors headlined the Washington Island Literary Festival this September. The lineup included fiction writers Amy Quan Barry, Lan Samantha Chang and Shelby Van Pelt; poet Brenda Cárdenas; and nonfiction writer Meghan O’Gieblyn. 

Write On, Door County Turns 10

Baptiste Paul. Submitted.

Write On, Door County celebrated its 10-year anniversary with a gala this October, featuring keynote speaker and award-winning author Baptiste Paul.

Door County Library Wins Major Grant Award

This winter, Door County Library’s Door County Reads 2024 events received a major grant award from Wisconsin Humanities to provide additional support for 2024’s event series based on the book Braiding Sweetgrass for Young Adults by Robin Wall Kimmerer.