Introducing the new editor of Adoption Today
Published: 18.12.17We are delighted to announce that Jill Turner is the new editor of Adoption Today magazine.
Jill has two generations of adoption within her family, has worked as a Fleet Street journalist and is the author of Children of Albion.
We asked Jill to introduce herself and talk about her plans for the magazine.
So Jill, first off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
I'm a single mum and a writer. I worked for many years as a reporter, feature writer and editor on Fleet Street - still do occasionally - and I'm the author of a novel, The Children of Albion. I have a lot of experience with children and young people facing difficulties, having also worked as a youth mentor, a teaching assistant in alternative provision schools and within youth justice. I do have adoption in my family, although I feel I need to leave that as their story to tell, should they wish, not mine.
You’ve written about adoption for a number of national newspapers. Which one article are you proudest of, and why?
I am most proud of those where I have been able to speak for someone who does not have that opportunity, whether that is writing about the lives some children are living and trying to highlight difficulties so something can be done about it, or giving someone the chance to express something important to them and to others. That is the privilege of being a journalist.
You later held an unprecedented position as a journalist for the Youth Justice Board. Tell us how this opportunity came about.
I was working as a volunteer youth mentor with the charity Youth at Risk and hearing all the stories of the young people, many of whom were criminal offenders. At the time the government was trying to tackle juvenile crime so I thought it would be a great idea to get one of these teenagers to the Home Secretary to chat through the ideas. Amazingly the Home Secretary - Jack Straw at the time - said 'yes' and I wrote up their conversation for The Guardian. Afterwards I suggested I join him as his own personal grass roots reporter and I was then employed by the Youth Justice Board as a journalist.
Tell us about your novel Children of Albion.
The Children of Albion was inspired by the 'unparented children' I saw on the streets when I was working as reporter and some of the youth I mentored. I wanted to tell their story but as a novel, so I came up with the idea of a boy from the streets who meets an educated teenager who has also been let down by the adults around him. Together they end up making a home for lost children in an abandoned house, based on the values and brotherhood of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and they call themselves The Children of Albion. You can read more about it here.
Any plans to write a second book?
My first novel has had such amazing reviews I am working on a second book about children but I've also been asked to compile a book of contemporary adoption stories for Coram BAAF. I'm excited about this as I want to get the work of adoptive parents acknowledged and supported, recognising modern adoption is very complex. While most 'outsiders' still believe the hard bit of adoption is over at placement, I believe that is where it begins.
What are your plans for Adoption Today?
Sally Donovan did a great job as editor highlighting the issues of modern adoption and building a resource for parents. I want to build on that and I'd love parents to feel free to contact me with any thoughts or ideas, or to tell me their stories. I can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally Jill, what do you to unwind in your spare time?
I love horses and luckily my son does too - so my spare time is spent with my son and with horses whenever I can. I'd love to say Caribbean holidays but sadly that's not a viable option for us unless the lottery comes up - or we get a big win at Newmarket one day!