- Associated Press - Monday, April 28, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) - Two members of Pussy Riot will be attending a literary celebration that already includes Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie and Robert Caro on the guest list.

Maria Alyokhina and Nadya Tolokonnikova are expected at the PEN American Center Literary Gala, PEN announced Monday. The event is scheduled for May 5 at the Museum of Natural History, where Rushdie and Twitter CEO Dick Costolo will be receiving awards from PEN, the nonprofit organization that has been a longtime advocate for free expression.

Members of Pussy Riot, the Russian punk band, have been arrested on several occasions for protesting against oppressive rule by the Russian government and criticizing President Vladimir Putin, including during the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

PEN executive director Susan Nossel said that Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova will be making brief remarks during the presentation of the PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award, being given this year to imprisoned Chinese writer-blogger Ilham Tohti.

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