In 2018 Rupi Kaur was inducted into the Brampton Arts Walk of Fame. At only 25, Kaur has had two bestselling books, is one of Forbes 30 under 30 and was named one of BBC’s 100 Women of 2017.
Her brand of feminist and first-generation immigrant-focused poetry has helped Kaur amass an international audience. Dubbed Instapoet” due to her tremendous popularity on Instagram, she has singlehandedly redefined poetry for the millennial generation. Her TED Talk received a swarm of praise, and some credit her for resurrecting what was an ailing art form.
Kaur grew and nurtured her art in Brampton. When she was 10 she immigrated from India to the city with her parents. “Growing up in Brampton is a unique experience, especially as an immigrant, especially as a South Asian immigrant,” she says.
“It was me and a group of Punjabi [and] Sikh kids who lived in Brampton who started holding open mic nights where we shared our poetry, shared our music, our singing. We didn’t even know what we were doing but what happened was we’d perform and the energy was so incredible, and I’ve never felt support like that before.”
Brampton is also the place where Kaur wrote many pieces for Milk & Honey, the New York Times Bestselling book that’s sold millions of copies and launched her even further into the spotlight internationally. Initially, the book was self-published but eventually got picked up by Simon & Schuster.
But Kaur says it wasn’t planned. “Really I did it by accident. I wasn’t meaning to write a book,” she says. But when people started asking, she put one together. Then her Instagram following started to grow, and it’s all culminated in massive amounts of success.
Check out the full interview below.