Write On, Door County and the Hal Prize

By Steve Grutzmacher

Sixteen years ago, the Peninsula Pulse, an independent newspaper covering the news, arts and entertainment on Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula, introduced an annual literary contest issue.

Through the years, the growth of the annual contest moved through several changes including a name change and the additions of photography and nonfiction to the existing poetry and fiction categories. Businesses and individuals were gracious in their support of the contest from the outset. Still, the evolution was slow and though the number of entries in all categories grew steadily through the years, the staff at the Peninsula Pulse felt there were many more possibilities still to be explored. The addition of Write On, Door County as a collaborator in 2014 helped make many of these possibilities become a reality.

Write On, Door County’s generous donation of stays at their retreat house allowed the contest to attract nationally recognized and published authors and photographers to serve as judges. In addition, the first place winners in fiction, non-fiction and poetry are awarded stays at the retreat house. In conjunction with this collaboration, marketing efforts were significantly broadened to reach a wider audience, which resulted in submissions from across the state, region and nation. And the submission process, for both writing and photography, was streamlined by utilizing the Submittable website.

The closing date for this year’s Hal Prize is May 1, 2017, with the winning entries appearing in the Aug. 4, 2017 issue.


The Hal Prize offers publication in the Peninsula Pulse’s annual Literary Issue, (circulation of 17,000). Cash awards of up to $150, a week stay at Write On, Door County (a literary retreat located 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.

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