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Helen Potrebenko was born June 21, 1940 on a farm in Woking, Alberta. She moved to Vancouver in order to attend university and with the intention of becoming a teacher, but instead went on to earn a sociology degree. She held various jobs including taxi driver, lab technician, office temp, legal secretary, and bookkeeper, but is best known as a published author.
Her early writing appeared in "Pedestal," Canada's first women's liberation newspaper, and she has published numerous books, including short stories, poems, plays, and novels.
Considered "one of Vancouver's most uncompromising feminist writers," and a self-described "working-class feminist," Potrebenko deals primarily with the realities and challenges faced by working-class women in the 1970s and 1980s. Her second book, "No Streets of Gold" (1977) is a social history of Ukrainians in Alberta.
Potrebenko was also very involved with labour activism and unions, particularly with SORWUC (the Service, Office, and Retail Workers' Union of Canada). She participated in meetings and picket lines, including the protest to obtain a first contract by workers of The Muckamuck restaurant on Davie Street, Vancouver. These issues and events also feature prominently in some of her work.
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"Potrebenko, Helen." ABC Bookworld. Accessed June 25, 2012. http://www.abcbookworld.com/view_author.php?id=2991
Coller, Bill. "Sometimes they Sang." Out of Line. December 2, 1986, p. 12.