In this age of smartphones and digital media, it’s been a joy and a wonder to see how folklore has survived. The popularity of the #FolkloreThursday hashtag on Twitter has already moved beyond mere survival and become a lively, international community. It’s hard to imagine such prolific cross-fertilisation of folk tales at any other point in history. Neither has the unlikely resurgence been restricted to revisiting the past. The advent of “creepypasta” such as the Slender Man, carrying many of the hallmarks of traditional folk tales, has seen online communities starting to develop their own legends, their own lore. Folklore has survived in the 21st century by setting up home online.

This fresh life was one of the main influences on This Dreaming Isle, the anthology of folklore-inspired short stories that I’ve spent the last two years compiling. The other was Brexit. (It always comes back to Brexit, doesn’t it?) When the book was first conceived we were still a few months away from the leave vote, but already the country felt divided, its future uncertain. I remember being anxious about where we were headed as a nation, and that anxiety has not lessened since. It felt natural to confront that uncertainty by looking at Britain’s folklore. That these folk tales were often frightening or unsettling seemed only right for the times.

We commissioned new stories by some of the leading lights in the folklore renaissance, including Andrew Michael Hurley, whose book The Loney arguably kickstarted the folk-horror revival. We also approached authors such as Ramsey Campbell and Alison Littlewood, whose work within the horror genre has always engaged with local legend, and who have been hugely influential. Then, finally, we reached out to young writers such as Gary Budden and Jeannette Ng, who are just beginning to explore contemporary British folklore.

Many books have drawn upon folk tales for their inspiration, but some have explored it more deeply than others. Here is my Top 10:

1. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
There’s an argument to be made for Gaiman’s American Gods, but this novel has always been a personal favourite and its focus on west African folklore still feels both refreshing and rich. Brothers Fat Charlie and Spider set about exploring and exploiting their shared heritage as the offspring of the trickster god Anansi. Fuelled by Gaiman’s vigorously inventive imagination, it shows how a story can be simultaneously rooted in tradition and shockingly new.

2. The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter
Carter’s work casts a long shadow over the stranger end of the literary spectrum, but this book is where she most explicitly tackles folklore and fairytales. Drawing on tales such as Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood, these stories aren’t direct retellings. Instead, Carter crafts something new, challenging stereotypes and questioning the ways in which folk tales have represented women down the ages.

3. Lavondyss by Robert Holdstock
Officially the sequel to Mythago Wood, Lavondyss takes the original’s concept and delves even deeper into its dark recesses. The result is a challenging and utterly compelling novel that brings a literary complexity to its tale of pre-Roman Celtic religions, shamanism and Britain after the second world war. Originally published as a work of genre fantasy, it is gradually gaining recognition for its startling imagery and sense of layered history.

4. The Changeling by Victor Lavalle
The most recent book on this list, this novel demonstrates how folkloric fiction is evolving. Drawing on European tradition, but juxtaposing it with a present-day Manhattan of part-time hackers, Lavalle succeeds in creating a world in which anything is possible and nobody is safe.

5. The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
One of the books that propelled the folklore revival into the limelight, this combines elements of the gothic novel with the folkloric, contrasting both with the birth of palaeontology. When a body is washed up, rumours abound that it is the work of a giant winged serpent. But is there a more prosaic explanation? Like all the best folklore, this novel avoids easy answers, leaving us instead with a sense of uncertainty and dread.

Alan Garner.

Craft and power … Alan Garner. Photograph: Eamonn McCabe for the Guardian

6. The Owl Service by Alan Garner
It was tempting to include one of Garner’s later literary explorations, but this is the book that I come back to time and time again. Haunted by the Welsh legend of Blodeuwedd, who was turned into an owl after she betrayed her husband, three children find themselves reliving the story in an isolated valley. Published as a children’s novel, it contains all the craft and power of his more obviously adult fictions.

7. The White People and Other Weird Stories by Arthur Machen
Through the discovery of “the Green Book”, a diary written in a juvenile stream of consciousness, we hear of a young girl’s introduction to a world of secret pagan ceremonies and unnatural beings. By mixing folklore with the supernatural, Machen effectively created the modern folk-horror genre.

8. The Good People by Hannah Kent
No folklore list would be complete without an Irish folk tale or two, and Hannah Kent’s follow-up to the critically acclaimed Burial Rites delivers that and more. Set in County Kerry and steeped in herbal remedies, changelings and fairy curses, the novel explores the dark side of folk tales and the acts they drive people to commit.

9. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
A tale of folkloric horror masquerading as a murder mystery, this has remained one of Conan Doyle’s best-loved works precisely because of its cultural resonances. Supernatural dogs abound in folk tales, and it’s no coincidence that this tale is set in Devon, home to the Yeth hound (although he may also have been inspired by East Anglia’s Black Shuck). The ending brings the mystery back down to earth, but it’s the dog that remains in everyone’s memory.

10. Fen by Daisy Johnson
Firmly rooted in the provisional landscape of East Anglia’s fenland, this short-story collection mixes the fantastical with gritty, everyday details in the way that all the best folk tales do. Filled with transformations, and blurring the space between humankind and nature, this is folklore for the 21st century.

This Dreaming Isle is published by Unsung Stories, priced £9.99. It is available from the Guardian bookshop for £8.79.