In particular: Indian-born author Salman Rushdie made a surprise appearance at the event, according to The New York Times.
He was there to receive the Freedom of Expression Courage Award.
To everyone's delight, Rushdie reportedly walked onstage after a short tribute video.
He was met with "whoops and a standing ovation," the report said.
Why it matters: This was the first time that the renowned author was seen in public since he was gravely injured in an attack at a similar literary event last year.
His message: Keeping his remarks short, Rushdie said, "It’s nice to be back – as opposed to not being back, which was also an option. I’m pretty glad the dice rolled this way."
“I just thought if there’s a right thing to chose as a re-entry, it’s this[...]It’s being part of the world of books, the fight against censorship and for human rights," he was further quoted as saying by The New York Times.
"Terrorism must not terrorize us...violence must not deter us. As the old Marxists used to say, La lutte continue. La lutta continua. The struggle goes on," the Booker Prize winner said.
To recap: Almost a year ago, Rushdie was due to deliver a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in western New York.
But just as he was being introduced, eyewitnesses reportedly saw a man hop onstage and stab Rushdie several times.
The interviewer, Henry Reese, was attacked as well.
Rushdie has reportedly lost sight in one eye because of the attack.