PHYLLIS BARBER, a Utah fiction and non-fiction writer now living in Colorado, has been awarded the Associated Writing Programs non-fiction award for 1991. Her manuscript - titled "How I Got Cultured: A Nevada Memoir" - has netted her a $15,000 cash prize and a publishing contract with the University of Georgia Press, publishers of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "Confederacy of Dunces."

"I've been told in the past that nobody wanted to read about Nevada and nobody wanted to read about Mormons," says Barber, "but apparently that's not the case."Barber has two other books coming out this year; a novel about life in the Hoover Dam area and a children's book about a gawky, gangling giraffe. She is probably best known to Utah readers for her insightful articles in Utah Holiday magazine over the years.

- THE LEAGUE OF UTAH WRITERS, Salt Lake Chapter, will hold its monthly meeting at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday, May 14, at the Salt Lake City Public Library. Elbert Peck, editor of Sunstone Magazine, will be the featured speaker. A question/answer session will follow. Call 484-5615 for information.

- DAVID KRANES, a playwright and fiction writer at the University of Utah, will read from his work at 8 p.m., Thursday, May 16, at 240 S. Main in Salt Lake City as part of the City Art reading series.

Kranes' theater works have been mounted by the Manhattan Theater Club and the Mark Taper Forum. His two novels - "Keno Runner" and "The Hunting Years" - have been well-received. The reading is free to the public.

- THE AMERICAN COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS and the Modern Poetry Association have awarded the $25,000 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize to David Wagoner of Washington state.

Wagoner "is one of our most prolific, versatile and substantial poets," said Joseph Parisi, editor of Poetry magazine.

Wagoner, of Mill Creek, Wash., is a native of Massillon Ohio and a graduate of Penn State and Indiana universities. - Reuter News Service