The Hal Prize is presented by the Peninsula Pulse, a free weekly newspaper; 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. One day, McKenzie stopped in at Pastimes Books – a former Sister Bay bookstore – and asked owner Steve Grutzmacher if they could name the literary contest after his father, Hal Grutzmacher.

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 covers four different 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.


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