His father was a colonial administrator in Zambézia, Mozambique, where Macedo grew up till the age of 12. His opposition to the Salazar regime caused him to seek exile in London during the 1950s.
- Portugal--ancient country, young democracy - Page 120 Kenneth Maxwell, Michael H. Haltzel, West European Program (Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars) - 1990 "Helder Malta Macedo is the Camoens Professor of Portuguese and head of the department of Portuguese and Brazilian studies at the University of London, King's College. Macedo has also served as director-general for the performing arts, .."
- Ilídio Rocha Roteiro da literatura portuguesa 1998 Page 190 "Helder Macedo (1935-) Poeta, romancista e investigador literário. Nasceu em Krugersdorp, na República da Africa do Sul, viveu a sua infância na Zambézia, Moçambique, e veio para Lisboa aos doze anos, depois de ter estado dois anos na.. "
- Phillip Rothwell A Canon of Empty Fathers: Paternity in Portuguese Narrative 2007 Page 151 "Helder Macedo was born in South Africa in 1935 and brought up in Mozambique. His father worked for the Portuguese colonial administration in Africa. Macedo's opposition to Salazar's regime led him into exile in London in his early twenties,"
- Was a Faber and Faber novelist, friends with writers Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes in early 1960s London.