Claire Vaye Watkin’s debut collection of short stories Battleborn initiates the reader into a world of travellers and those down on their luck, often as they drift through Watkins’ home state of Nevada. From her story ‘The Last Thing We Need’, also in Granta 111: Going Back, which tells of a man who becomes obsessed with a cache of letters, pills and a photograph he finds abandoned by the side of the road, to ‘Graceland’ which deals with a group of sisters unable to comfort one another in the wake of their mother’s suicide, these are stories that capture sudden, unexpected intimacies and unearth alternate family mythologies in seemingly innocuous objects. Here Watkins spoke to online editor Ted Hodgkinson about uncovering ritual in relationships and drawing inspiration from cartoons, mythology and Paul Simon.

Photo © Lily Glass 

After the Olympics Left