More than a dozen high-profile writers, including friends and colleagues of Mr. Rushdie, spoke on the steps of Manhattan's grand public library.

The author was invited to follow the event online from his hospital room.

On August 12, the author of "Satanic Verses" was stabbed several times, including in the neck and abdomen in the small town of Chautauqua in New York State, the site of an annual literary festival.

He had been evacuated by helicopter to a hospital and had to be briefly placed on a ventilator before his condition improved.

Gay Talese, wearing his traditional hat, read an extract from the novel "The Golden House", while the Irish writer Colum McCann recited a passage from the essay "Out of Kansas", published by Salman Rushdie in the magazine New Yorker in 1992.

Mr Rushdie "has always risen to the occasion", Mr McCann said.

“I think he will have something profound to say,” once he recovers, he continued.

Salman Rushdie set part of the Islamic world ablaze with the publication of "Satanic Verses" in 1988, leading Iranian Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa calling for his assassination.

The author of fifteen novels, stories for young people, short stories and essays written in English had been forced to live in hiding and under police protection, going from hiding place to hiding place.

Arrested immediately after the incident, Mr Rushdie's attacker, Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old Lebanese American, pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault on Thursday in a first appearance after being charged by a grand jury.

“Not even a blade through the throat could silence the voice of Salman Rushdie,” Suzanne Nossel, president of the association for the defense of writers around the world, PEN America, said on Friday.

© 2022 AFP