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Great-Great-Granddaughter Of 'The Secret Garden' Author Visits Utah Theatre

Keri Wilt compared to her great-great-grandmother
Keri Wilt


  In 1911, a book called The Secret Garden was published. At the time it didn’t receive much attention, but over the years it would grow to become a children’s classic. The book was written by Frances Hodgson Burnett who also wrote classics such as A Little Princess and Little Lord Fauntleroy.


“Hi my name is Keri Wilt, I am the great-great-granddaughter of Frances Hodgson Burnett.”


Wilt gave a lecture at the Utah Theatre on Thursday about the history of Burnett and her relationship with her.


“I think Frances and I have always been connected," Wilt said. "I think that from a young age my love of writing was something that came down from her, but I didn’t really know it at the time. It was a seed that was planted probably way back.”


That seed grew into a blog called FHB and Me, which is all about Wilt’s own life and how her great-great-grandmother continues to affect it.


“To be able to play any part in carrying on the words that she wrote and helping to carry those forward to a whole new generation, I wouldn’t consider it a burden," she said. "It’s a joy. When I go and see people, and they find out who it is I’m related to, nine times out of ten they start gushing and beaming and telling me how important this book was to them.”


The Secret Garden has since been adapted into films, stage productions and a musical, which the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater company will be performing at the Ellen Eccles Theater in Logan with Wilt giving a presentation about Burnett opening night on July 7.


“I’m almost like an innocent bystander," Wild said. "I get to soak in that yumminess of the joy that she created and the happiness she created. She said on her deathbed she tried to write as much happiness in the world as she could. And she did it. And that gets to be reflected sometimes back on me.”