Books are displayed in a bookshop during the Hay Festival in Hay on Wye, Wales, Friday May 31, 2019. At Britain’s leading literary gathering, the word of the year was anxiety. Fifty shades of worry, about climate change, mental health and of course Brexit, dominated this year’s Hay Festival, an annual carnival of ideas held in Hay-on-Wye, a tiny Welsh town with 2,000 residents and 20 bookshops. (AP Photo/Jill Lawless)

UK's anxiety takes center stage at Hay ideas festival

June 03, 2019 - 5:46 am

HAY-ON-WYE, Wales (AP) — At Britain's leading literary gathering, the word of the year was anxiety.

Fifty shades of worry —about climate change, mental health and of course Brexit — dominated this year's Hay Festival, an annual carnival of ideas held in Hay-on-Wye, a tiny Welsh town with 2,000 residents and 20 bookshops.

With Britain's departure from the European Union in limbo, its population split, its politicians deadlocked — and divisive President Donald Trump in London Monday for a state visit — many of the 600 authors and 100,000 audience members were asking where things went wrong, and what to do about it.

Turkish-British novelist Elif Shafak told an audience "I used to think 'the Brits are so calm when they talk about politics. They don't get angry.' I no longer think that way."