11/21/2013 03:50 pm ET

Maya Angelou Sings, Delivers Compassionate Speech At National Book Awards 2013 (VIDEO)

Dr. Maya Angelou received the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community at the 2013 National Book Awards at Cipriani Wednesday night in New York City.

Known as the "Oscars of the literary world," Angelou was introduced by Toni Morrison, and delivered a thoughtful speech that radiated with humility and compassion.

"To see Toni Morrison greet me, it's a blessing, she is a blessing, and it's amazing," said Angelou. "We have been sister friends all these years and I'm grateful for it. In truth, it takes one to know one and I'm grateful."

She thanked the audience and the literary community throughout her speech and even briefly broke out into song.

"For over 40 years, imagine it, I have tried to tell the truth as I understand it, in prose, amazingly. I know that there's a difficulty in trying to write prose," she said. She goes on, adding "you know that easy reading is damn hard writing."

Watch Maya Angelou's speech in the video above.