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Norfolk-based author Bill Bryson fears Britain is becoming greedy

PUBLISHED: 11:00 31 May 2010 | UPDATED: 11:11 01 July 2010

Bill Bryson.

Bill Bryson.

Sarah Hall

Best-selling author Bill Bryson, who lives in Norfolk, believes his adopted Britain is getting increasingly self-absorbed and greedy.

Best-selling author Bill Bryson, who lives in Norfolk, believes his adopted Britain is getting increasingly self-absorbed and greedy.

The Anglophile American spoke to a full house of well over 1,000 fans at the Hay Festival of Literature in mid-Wales.

As a writer who has found success giving his particular outsider's view of Britain, he has long been an admirer of the country.

But he revealed the Britain he discovered as a youthful American backpacker in the 1970s was in some ways richer than today.

Speaking of the 1970s he said: “People's lives were actually still quite simple compared with today, but it seemed like a really enriched country.”

He said that by comparison with then, people in general have a lot more money in their pockets. He said: “But we act all the time now like we are really poor when people are really rich. America is about individual wealth and collective poverty and we have moved into that camp.”

He added: “One thing that is different, and has changed here, is the self-absorption, not just greed. Everybody is in a hurry now and there is a 'the rules don't apply to me' sort of thing. When I first came to Britain it really was all about fair play and queuing.”

Bill Bryson was at the festival to promote his new book At Home.

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