Salman Rushdie attends the PEN America Gala, his first in-person appearance since last summer’s stabbing

NEW YORK (AP) — Salman Rushdie is making his first personal public appearance since inception repeatedly stabbed and hospitalized nine months ago. The author was in attendance Thursday night at the annual gala of PEN America, the literature and free speech organization of which he was once president.

“I feel great,” said Rushdie, who wore a dark collarless jacket and matching pants. “I’ve been associated with PEN America for a long time and I’m just happy to be among writers and book people.”

Rushdie, 75, attended the gala, which saw hundreds of writers and other PEN members gather for a benefit dinner.

Last August, Rushdie was appearing at the Chautauqua Institution, a nonprofit education and retreat center in western New York, when he was attacked with a knife by a young man dressed in black. Rushdie suffered multiple wounds, leaving him blind in his right eye and having trouble writing.

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The alleged attacker Hadi Matar has pleaded not guilty charged with assault and attempted murder.

Rushdie remained in hiding for years after Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa in 1989 calling for his death for allegedly profaning the novel The Satanic Verse, but he had long been on the loose before the August attack .

Since then he has given few interviews and otherwise communicated and prepared remarks via his Twitter account. Earlier this week he delivered a video message to the British Book Awards, where he won the Freedom to Publish award.

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