Martin Shepard is the co-founder, along with his wife Judith, of The Permanent Press, and the author of six books: The Do It Yourself Psychotherapy Book, Dying: A Guide for Helping and Coping, Fritz, The Reluctant Exhibitionist, The Seducers, and On the Record. Originally titled A Psychiatrist’s Head when it was published in 1972, The Reluctant Exhibitionist touched upon Shepard’s efforts to end the war in Vietnam, the details of his sex life, and his use of psychedelic drugs (among other topics). Taking issue with the book’s content, authorities in New York State attempted to revoke his medical license. The experience, combined with Shepard’s growing weariness toward working as a psychotherapist, precipitated a move to Sag Harbor, New York, and the founding of The Permanent Press.
Under Shepard’s guidance, The Permanent Press has gained a reputation as one of the most respected small presses in the United States. Authors and titles have earned numerous honors including the American Book Award, the Small Press Book Award, and the New American Writing Award, as well as nominations for the National Book Award and the Edgar Award. Shepard also had the distinct honor of playing a rendition of “God Save the Queen” on his saxophone when Margaret Thatcher passed his stall at a booksellers’ convention sometime in the 1980s.