Rushdie, Pussy Riot featured at literary gala

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NEW YORK (AP) — Salman Rushdie, Toni Morrison and two members of the Russian protest group Pussy Riot were among the featured speakers at a black-tie event championing freedom of expression.

PEN American Center, the literary human rights organization, hosted its annual gala Monday night at the American Museum of Natural History. Rushdie, who spent years in hiding after his novel "The Satanic Verses" led to an edict for his death from the Iranian government, was introduced by Morrison as he received a literary service award. Twitter CEO Dick Costolo was given the inaugural Digital Freedom Award. The daughter of imprisoned Chinese dissident Ilham Tohti accepted his Freedom to Write Award on his behalf.

Maria Alyokhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova of Pussy Riot spoke briefly, and called for attendees to send books to political prisoners.

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