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How Barbara Hepworth Learned to Love Holes


Our story of the week is a biographical story from the writer Helena Hinn.

Helena began writing in 1984. She writes poetry and short fiction. She has been published in Virago, Women’s Press, Faber & Faber and OUP anthologies.

Helena currently lives in Newcastle on Tyne. She spends her time writing, attending literature and film courses, and reading. She also works part time as an assistant manager for a charity shop.

In How Barbara Hepworth Learned to Love Holes, Helena explores one woman’s artistic inspirations and the beauty of creation.



“Are we there yet?” I asked Ben, creasing a sweet wrapper into a triangle shape. I never can stop working.

“You asked me that five minutes ago, and no, nowhere near.” Ben is staring at the thin sliver of road ahead, only illuminated by our headlights.

“How long then?”

“Barbara, I’ve told you, it’ll be hours. We’re not even into Cornwall yet.”

“Drat the war! Drat the Germans!” I raise my voice in anger, then lower it rapidly.

“Shh!” Ben hisses through the steady swish swish of the windscreen wipers. “You’ll wake them, let them sleep.”

“Yes, the popsicles, let them slumber. They won’t know what’s hit them when they wake up,” and I start to sob softly, so as not to wake the clump. (Is three children a clump?) I peer around into the dark at a bulky mass of woollen blanket, from which emerges an assortment of legs and small heads with closed eyes and rosebud mouths peeking out.

“It’ll be alright, you know,” Ben assures me and takes his hand from the tan leather steering wheel and clasps mine.

“For God’s sake, hold onto the wheel!” I bark. “This old heap of junk was only seventeen pounds, who know what state the brakes are in.”

“It was cheaper than the train fare,” Ben mutters.

I notice his high pate (I never call it receding hairline, even to myself) shining in the headlights. “This might be a good move for us – the countryside, the beaches, great for the children…“’ Read more…