November 18, 2020 Ron Howard and J.D. Vance to Discuss "Hillbilly Elegy" with Librarian of Congress

Press Contact: Brett Zongker, Library of Congress, | Cynthia Arntzen, Netflix, |

Film director Ron Howard and author J.D. Vance will join Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden to discuss "Hillbilly Elegy" on Nov. 23.

The Library of Congress and Netflix will host a conversation on Monday, Nov. 23, with film director Ron Howard and J.D. Vance, author of “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” moderated by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden to discuss the creative process of bringing the book to the screen with the release of the new film, “Hillbilly Elegy.”

The event will be hosted Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. ET on the Library’s Facebook page at and YouTube channel at The new film “Hillbilly Elegy” opened in select theaters Nov. 11 and premieres Nov. 24 on Netflix.

About the Film

In the film, J.D. Vance (Gabriel Basso), a former Marine from southern Ohio and current Yale Law student, is on the verge of landing his dream job when a family crisis forces him to return to the home he’s tried to forget. J.D. must navigate the complex dynamics of his Appalachian family, including his volatile relationship with his mother Bev (Amy Adams), who’s struggling with addiction. Fueled by memories of his grandmother Mamaw (Glenn Close), the resilient and whip-smart woman who raised him, J.D. comes to embrace his family’s indelible imprint on his own personal journey.

Based on J.D. Vance’s New York Times Bestseller, directed by Academy Award winner Ron Howard and produced by Academy Award winner Brian Grazer, “Hillbilly Elegy” is a powerful personal memoir that offers a window into one family’s personal journey. By following three colorful generations through their unique struggles, J.D.’s family story explores the highs and lows that define his family’s experience.

About the Speakers

Ron Howard
Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard is one of this generation’s most popular directors. From the critically acclaimed Oscar-winning dramas “A Beautiful Mind” and “Apollo 13” to the hit comedies “Parenthood” and “Splash,” he has created some of Hollywood’s most memorable films.

Past films include the Grammy-winning Best Music Film “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week,” “Pavarotti,” “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” “Rush,” “The Da Vinci Code,” “Frost/Nixon,” “How The Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Ransom,” “Backdraft” and “Cocoon,” just to name a few. Howard has also served as an executive producer on a number of award-winning television shows, such as the Emmy-winning HBO miniseries “From the Earth to the Moon,” the Emmy-winning series “Arrested Development,” and NatGeo’s award winning anthology series “Genius.”

Currently, Howard recently released the film adaptation of the New York Times best-selling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy” starring Amy Adams and Glenn Close; is in pre-production on “Thirteen Lives” about the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand; and is in production on a documentary about renowned chef José Andrés and his World Central Kitchen. He also directed the 2020 documentary “Rebuilding Paradise.”

Howard made his directorial debut in 1977 with the comedy “Grand Theft Auto.” He began his career in film as a child actor, featured in “The Music Man,” and later starred as Opie on the long-running television series “The Andy Griffith Show” and as Richie Cunningham on the popular series “Happy Days,” both No. 1 Nielsen rated series.

Howard and his longtime friend and business partner Brian Grazer founded Imagine Entertainment in 1986, which they continue to run together as chairmen.

J.D. Vance
J.D. Vance is an investor, commentator and author of the New York Times best seller “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” described by the National Review as a “brilliant book” and by The Economist as “one of the most important” reads of 2016. He has previously discussed the book at the Library of Congress National Book Festival.

Raised by his working-class grandparents in Middletown, Ohio, Vance graduated from Middletown High School in 2003 and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. During his time in the Marines, he deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. When he finished his four-year enlistment, Vance enrolled at Ohio State University, where he studied political science and philosophy, and helped coordinate the university’s bipartisan voter education drive in 2008. After graduating from college, he studied at Yale Law School, where he worked at Yale’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic, providing free legal counsel to veterans of the wars in Vietnam and Iraq. Vance earned his law degree in 2013.

After a stint at a large corporate law firm, Vance moved to San Francisco to work in the technology industry. He served as a principal at the leading Silicon Valley venture capital firm Mithril Capital, cofounded by Peter Thiel, before launching his own fund, Narya Capital, based in Ohio.

Carla Hayden
Carla Hayden was sworn in as the 14th Librarian of Congress on September 14, 2016. Hayden, the first woman and the first African American to lead the national library, was nominated to the position by President Barack Obama on February 24, 2016, and her nomination was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on July 13.

Prior to her latest post, she served as CEO of the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore since 1993. Hayden was nominated by Obama to be a member of the National Museum and Library Services Board in January 2010 and was confirmed to that post by the Senate in June 2010. Before joining the Pratt Library, Hayden was deputy commissioner and chief librarian of the Chicago Public Library from 1991 to 1993.

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PR 20-077
ISSN 0731-3527