Rupi Kaur (BA '15) always had a passion for language, but it takes more than fresh ideas to become a bestseller. Kaur’s inspiring work is as remarkable as her journey to success — and Waterloo helped her get there.

From 20 followers to 1 million and counting

It all started with a few poems captured between classes — Rupi's love of writing lead her to explore English at Waterloo — a program that encourages students to explore language and digital media. With design skills honed through courses and co-op experiences, Kaur soon self-published her first poetry collection, milk and honey.

She put her marketing expertise to work, building her audience through live performances and social media.

But the staggering 17,000 copies sold was just the beginning. Soon, a publisher came calling and the book’s second run quickly climbed best-seller lists on Amazon, the Globe and Mail and the New York Times. Kaur's modest Instagram account following quickly exploded to more than one million.

 Breaking down barriers

Kaur's journey took more than talent: her courage to confront taboos and share women’s untold experiences resonates with audiences around the world. Kaur’s success goes beyond words and speaks to the complexity of being a woman today.