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Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1943, Helen Exley attended the University of Witwatersand where she studied speech and deafness therapy. Exley and her husband Richard opposed apartheid and were actively involved with charities for the oppressed blacks. Because they did not want their children to serve in the South African Defence Force, the Exleys moved to London in 1967. In London, Exley edited Help!, a liberal magazine which addresses issues, such as urban decay in Britain and the plight of the gypsies. Eventually, she and her husband established Exley Partners, consulting on editorial projects for charities. In 1976, they founded Exley Publications, which won the 1997 Queen's Award for Export Achievement. Exley's prolific authorship extends over many topics. Early works include People Who Have Helped the World, Against All Odds, and Scientists Who Have Changed the World. She has also published, The Love of Golf, My Best Recipes, and Horses: A Celebration in Words and Paintings. Later work includes a variety of gift books such as The Wicked Little Book of Quotes, To My Daughter with Love and To My Grandmother with Love. Exley lives in London with her husband.