Stepan Novak Alumnus Visit and Book Signing

Photos of Stephen Talking with students

Published writer Stephen Adutt, known by his pen name Štěpán Novák, made an uplifting visit to Magdalen College School Brackley yesterday, where he spent his formative years as a student. Now 90 years old, Novak's visit brought forth a wave of nostalgia as he revisited the halls and classrooms that shaped his early life. The author, who immigrated to the UK from Czechoslovakia during World War II, recently penned a novel titled "Karlovy Vary Goodbye", in which his time at Magdalen plays a significant role.

Novak's return to Magdalen was met with great anticipation, as staff and students eagerly awaited the opportunity to meet the acclaimed writer. Surprisingly, any apprehension Stephen had felt before the visit quickly faded away. Upon reflection, he expressed his fascination with the school and how welcomed he felt. Novak acknowledged, “It was fascinating to be back and meet so many wonderful staff and students yesterday, I felt so welcomed. The Ethos of the School is obviously flourishing.”

The day began with a tour of the St John's site, accompanied by current headteacher Mr. Colling. The two explored the very classrooms and buildings where Novak received his education. Last term, Mr. Colling had shared excerpts from "Karlovy Vary Goodbye" during assemblies, urging students to recognize the significance of the history they are creating and encouraging them to cherish it.

Later, Stephen Adutt met with the sixth form students at the Thomas Godwin Centre, accompanied by Mr. Percival, then held a book signing in the school’s library. He recounted his own experiences as a student and expressed his amazement at the noticeable changes that had taken place since his time at Magdalen. He particularly commended the school for embracing co-education, as it was previously an all-boys institution. This inclusivity, he noted, opens doors to broader perspectives and opportunities for students.

In preparation for his visit, Novak shared his observations on the rapid pace of change in today’s world. He highlighted the paramount importance for current students to be aware of significant global issues such as environmental and climate change, political dynamics, and financial inequality. Novak emphasized the resilience and awareness required of students in the present age, balancing their academic pursuits with an understanding of these impactful challenges.

Stephen Adutt's visit to Magdalen College School Brackley served as a reminder of the enduring impact that education and a sense of community can have on individuals throughout their lives. His reflections and words of wisdom will undoubtedly resonate with the students of Magdalen, inspiring them to embrace their roles as agents of change in an ever-evolving world.

We are delighted to have three signed copies of "Karlovy Vary Goodbye" available in the school's library for staff and students to borrow. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to The Old Hall Bookshop for their assistance in acquiring these copies for the book signing event. If you are interested in obtaining a personal copy, please reach out to the Bookshop, and they will gladly assist you in ordering and reserving a copy for purchase. call: 01280704146 or email:

Photos of Stephen Talking with students